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New Stock Coverage: Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman Set to Party Like It's 2007


Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

President Obama's State of the Union speech yesterday evening focused on the scourge of income inequality, and not before time. If you are a British queen or Belgian king, these are indeed difficult days. Meanwhile the common man, his bank account already boosted by the Dow's (INDEXDJX:.DJI) record-breaking run last year, just enjoyed another jump in US stock markets. Mind you, not all equities shared in the ebullience. National Blueberry Pancake Day instead offered investors an utterly unappetizing Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) turnover, with that stock sliding some 7.99% after its earnings announcement. Speaking of the State of the Union, today is the 12th anniversary of George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" address. Our 43rd President, when shown Israel's miniscule nine-mile border in a helicopter ride with Ariel Sharon, memorably opined, "In Texas, we have driveways bigger than that." Indeed. Texas Industries (NYSE:TXI) was yesterday bought for more than $2 billion by a beloved Martin Marietta Materials (NYSE:MLM); the combined company thus becomes America's largest producer of gravel used in said driveways. And whatever its overall verdict, history looks like it's forgiving Dubya his infamous Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) and socks fashion faux pas, for the maker of colorful clogs shrugged off an iffy analyst initiation to advance 3.24%.

Today in economics, Ben Bernanke concludes his final meeting as head of the Fed at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Anglo American (OTCMKTS:AAUKY), Boeing (NYSE:BA), Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW), EMC Corp (NYSE:EMC), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU), Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MRO), Novartis (NYSE:NVS), and
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) are all due to release results. Now let's turn to today's analyst initiations, an eclectic bunch that includes Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX)...

Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO): Deutsche Bank has a Hold on the money manager.

Blackstone Group: When Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman threw himself a $3 million 60th birthday bash in 2007, it had a fin de siecle air on Wall Street. Right on cue, the market topped out that October. Today, however, the well-compensated captain of industry can celebrate his stock being begun with a bullish Buy rating at Deutsche Bank.

Carlyle (NASDAQ:CG): Shares are covered with a Buy, again at a busy Deutsche.

Gap, Inc. (NYSE:GPS): Buckingham begins Buy-rated research on the apparel outfit. Its price objective is $51.

iPass (NASDAQ:IPAS): Shares are initiated with a Buy opinion and $5 objective at Chardan Capital Markets, which sees considerable promise in the company's mobile offerings.

L Brands (NYSE:LB): The clothing company, which owns both Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, is a new Neutral at Buckingham. Its target price is $57.

Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA): Raymond James resumes coverage at Market Perform.

Solvay (OTCMKTS:SVYZY): Goldman Sachs starts the European chemical company at a Neutral.

See also:

Stock Upgrades: Wall Street Looks to Wal-Mart for Lift

Stock Downgrades: D.R. Horton Hears a Boo After Yesterday's Heroics
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