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New Stock Coverage: Extended Stay America Has Room at the Inn This Christmas

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

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I hope I live long enough to read the textbooks.
– Ben Bernanke speaking at his final press conference last week

Big Ben will surely live long and prosper for several years yet. After all, the Fed he heads today turns 100 years young amid no signs of slowing down. Indeed, as a result of our central bank's actions, the Dow Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) each scaled fresh records last week. (And if, in the extremely unlikely event that this Princeton egghead opts to skip the academic tomes on his tenure, For Dummies publisher John Wiley (NYSE:JW-A) hit a historic high on Friday, taking its 12-month increase to 42.86%.) Ahead of Christmas, Santa's beloved Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) rose 19.95%, and Angie's List (NASDAQ:ANGI) can afford to be both naughty and nice after advancing 22.10%. Seattle's own Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) smashed past $400 for the first time ever, even as something big in its home city is mysteriously blocking Bertha. Big Bertha maker Callaway (NYSE:ELY) jumped on a broker boost but BP Plc (NYSE:BP), whose golf shots have an unhappier history, made those poor dolphins sicker than ever after ominously announcing another "significant" discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. Newfangled bitcoin continued to tank, even as a 300-year old currency announced a major makeover. "Paper or Plastic? Britain Joining Currency Trend" declared a New York Times (NYSE:NYT) article co-written by Ian Austen. Presumably no relation to Jane, who will appear on £10 notes starting in 2017.

It's slim pickings for earnings announcements at the start of this holiday-shortened week, but Mechel Steel (NYSE:MTL) released results earlier this morning. In terms of economic events that may move US stock markets today, the University of Michigan's final figure for December consumer confidence is predicted to improve from its preliminary pace at 9:55 a.m. Eastern.

CONSOL Energy (NYSE:CNX): Goldman Sachs covers the coal company at a Neutral.

Darling International (NYSE:DAR): BMO Capital falls in love with Darling International, establishing it at an upbeat Outperform.

Extended Stay America (NYSE:STAY): Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Robert W. Baird ($23 price objective) all assign uninspiring Neutrals on accommodation outfit stock Extended Stay America, but Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (Buy), Barclays, and JPMorgan (each Overweight) are more bullish.

Kofax (NASDAQ:KFX): Shares are showing strength ahead of the open after being named a new Outperform at Northland Capital, whose target price is $10. The burgeoning enterprise application market could be a share price catalyst, in the broker's estimation.

Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ): JPMorgan has a new Neutral on Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) stock exchange operator Nasdaq OMX Group.

Plains All American (NYSE:PAA): Wunderlich launches the limited partnership with a Buy recommendation and $60 objective amid an attractive valuation, fee-based projects, and ample asset base.

Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM): Salesforce.com sees its stock rated an Outperform by BMO Capital Markets, whose target is $62. Sustainable billings growth is among the myriad long-term catalysts cited.

Sonus Networks (NASDAQ:SONS): FBR Capital covers the company with an Outperform opinion and $4 price objective.

US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL): ECOL is resumed with an Outperform at Raymond James.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Fall Head Over Heels For Skullcandy and Stock Downgrades: Trouble Brewing in the BlackBerry Patch)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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