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New Stock Coverage: Go Long on China Distance Education

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

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The "Santa Claus rally," which Wall Street has historically defined as encompassing the final five trading days of the old year and the first two of the new, officially ends today. Yet yesterday, Kris Kringle was ominously seen Trading Places, so to speak, in swapping 2014 with 2008. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI), down by triple digits, and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) each ended lower as blue chips began the year with a loss for the first time since that annus horribilis of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. After the party came the hangover, not helped by boozy birthday boy Booz Allen (NYSE:BAH) celebrating its centenary with a 1.62% loss. Pride of Korea Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) started 2014 in need of some serious Seoul searching, falling 5.45%, and misery loved company as its arch-rival Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) imploded 1.14% on a rating reduction by Maynard Um, who is more convinced that the Cupertino king is in for a rough ride than his surname would suggest. Adding insult to injury, on the day it dissed its off-key iPhone-loving mouthpiece Alicia, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) ended up 2.82%. Elsewhere American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), adamant on extending its 15 seconds of Times Square fame beyond midnight on December 31, rode a broker boost to advance 2.29%.

There isn't any top-tier economic data that may move US markets today but Fed head Ben Bernanke, set to give a speech in Philadelphia at 2:30 p.m. Eastern, is among a plethora of central bank speakers. Regarding specific stocks, Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN) missed earnings expectations when it released fiscal first-quarter results earlier this morning.

Canadian Banks: RBC Capital has a Sector Perform rating and $97 target price on Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSE:CM), but is more bullish on Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO) and Toronto-Dominion (NYSE:TD), both rated Outperform with respective stock price objectives of $76 and $113.

China Distance Education (NYSE:DL): Piper Jaffray picks up China Distance Education by assigning an Overweight on the stock.

CNO Financial (NYSE:CNO): Citigroup covers the company at a Buy.

EastGroup (NYSE:EGP): EGP gets initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group.

Federated Investors (NYSE:FII): Federated Investors is a fresh Buy at Argus.

FX Energy (NASDAQ:FXEN): Roth Capital resumes Buy-rated research. Its target price is $6.

Lin Media (NYSE:LIN): "Linsanity" for Lin Media today? The stock could see its net profits improve after being begun with an Outperform at Wedbush, whose objective is $34.

Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ:SBGI): Shares are an Outperform, also with Wedbush.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Shock Jock Howard Stern Still Making 'Friends' for Sirius XM and Stock Downgrades: General Electric All Out of Juice)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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