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New Stock Coverage: Facebook Looks Mighty Handsome

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

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Sixteen thousand - the number of US military advisers in Vietnam the day JFK touched down in Dallas - haunts us anew five decades on. For a second straight session the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) failed to close above that milestone, and the losing streak for US stock markets now stands at three days. At a time Dealey Plaza echoes are everywhere, fast-food firm Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) - based in the Big D - bucked a bad tape to gain 0.65%, a historic high. The Chili's owner was founded in 1977, the year that bloodstained Ford (NYSE:F) was finally retired. With equities unable to reproduce recent records, Xerox (NYSE:XRX) - whose first photocopier arrived in that fateful year of 1963 - tumbled 2.14%. 1927 was an equally iconic annum in American history - someone really ought to write a book about it one day - and La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB), established that year, rose 9.83% to finish at a fresh 52-week peak.

In terms of economic events that may move US markets this morning, analysts expect a fall in November's Philadelphia Fed Index at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS), GameStop (NYSE:GME), Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), Pandora (NASDAQ:P), Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST), Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD), Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK), Target (NYSE:TGT), and The Fresh Market (NASDAQ:TFM) are all due to report quarterly results.

Agrium (NYSE:AGU): Raymond James resumes Outperform-rated research on AGU.

Car Companies: Jefferies has a Buy on Honda Motor (NYSE:HMC) but is less bullish on Hold-rated Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM).

Charles River Laboratories (NYSE:CRL): CRL is covered with a Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP): Barclays begins an Overweight on the stock.

CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS): Shares are a Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX): Maxim rolls out Buy-rated research on the tanker titan, which tumbled 3.85% yesterday.

EverBank Financial (NYSE:EVER): EverBank is assigned an Overweight by Barclays.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): Geeks need not apply. The social networking name is, if a recent ranking of New York's "hottest employees" to be believed, staffed entirely by male models. Equally handsome profits may come your way if you invest in its stock, according to FBR Capital. It begins covering Facebook at Outperform, assigning a price objective of $60. Facebook is becoming ever more attractive to marketers, the bank believes.

Gartner (NYSE:IT): Amid earnings per share growth concerns shares get assigned a lukewarm Perform at FBR Capital, whose target price is $67.

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD): LNKD is also launched with a Perform at FBR Capital, whose objective is $214. Slowing fourth-quarter revenue represents a near-term challenge, according to the brokerage.

Monster Worldwide (NYSE:MWW): Monster Worldwide is an Outperform at FBR Capital, which cites both a more solid environment in Europe and enhanced share buybacks. Its Monster Worldwide price target is $7.

Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD): Rite Aid is assigned an Outperform at Imperial Capital. Its price target on Ride Aid, whose shares have surged 400% in the past year, is $6.50.

Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI): The media outfit is established at an Outperform ($44 price objective) at FBR Capital amid its improved execution.

UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH): Morgan Stanley starts the Dow stock at Overweight.

Walgreen (NYSE:WAG): Shares are a fresh Buy at Deutsche Bank.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Green Mountain Far From Over the Hill and Stock Downgrades: Lights Out for Philip Morris)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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