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New Stock Coverage: Papa John's Just Hit the Mother Lode

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

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US stock markets just endured their first losing spell in nine weeks, but we all know what happens after that. No, not 9½ Weeks; get your mind out of the gutter. Rather, a new record, the 39th this year for the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX). On a day of Hitchcockian suspense, shares climbed the 39 Steps, just about eking out fresh bests after General Motors (NYSE:GM) - from which Uncle Sam only recouped $39 billion of its investment - gained 1.82% to a post-restructuring peak. Across the Atlantic, European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (OTCMKTS:EADSY) slashed 5,800 military jobs, but the pen proved mightier than the sword in America. This as Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) jumped 9.32% after penning a very public an open letter to President Obama demanding privacy. It likely went unread; Potus was in autopen mode himself en route to South Africa. Tiffany (NYSE:TIF), continuing its recent run, reached a new lifetime high. Zsa Zsa Gábor, whose nine wedding rings bested even Elizabeth Taylor, was once married to Conrad Hilton. His heirs evidently have no time to spare. The stock pushed up its IPO date, only hours after scoring an analyst initiation. The hotel baron was a good Christian who had copies of the Gideon Bible placed in every guest room. Thus one shudders to think what he would make of potty-mouthed Paris ominously intoning "No one f***s with my family and gets away with it!!" Kim Jong-un had better pray that his estranged uncle doesn't feel the same way.

In terms of economic events that may move US markets this morning, October wholesale trade inventories are released at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements out of Autozone (NYSE:AZO), Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL), H&R Block (NYSE:HRB), HD Supply Holdings (NASDAQ:HDS), Leidos Holdings (NYSE:LDOS), Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC), and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL).

AFC Enterprises (NASDAQ:AFCE): Shares are begun with a Buy recommendation and $47 price objective at Jefferies.

Allegion (NYSE:ALLE): Credit Suisse covers the company at Outperform. Its target price is $48.

IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX): The stock is assigned a Buy at Ascendiant Capital Markets, whose objective is $32.

Papa John's International (NASDAQ:PZZA) Pizza stock Papa John's International, which just yesterday hit the highest level in its history, is assigned only a Hold at Jefferies. The broker has understandable valuation concerns after a 66.45% surge in the past 12 months alone. Its price objective on Papa John's International is $86.

PDC Energy (NASDAQ:PDCE): Citing the company's prime position in the offshore DJ Basin, Mizuho has a Buy on the stock. Its target is $75.

Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS): Jefferies establishes a Buy on tech stock Rambus. Its price target on Rambus is $13.

RigNet (NASDAQ:RNET): RNET is resumed with an Outperform at William Blair.

Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS): Deutsche Bank begins Buy-rated research with a $140 objective.

3D Systems (NYSE:DDD): Stock in 3D-printing powerhouse 3D Systems is showing strength this morning, on the back of a bullish Buy initiation at Deutsche. Margin expansion and an impressive technology portfolio are each seen as stock price catalysts.

zulily (NASDAQ:ZU): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (Neutral; $39 target), Goldman Sachs (Neutral; $36), and RBC Capital (Sector Perform; $40) are all relatively "meh" on the stock. William Blair (Outperform) is, however, more upbeat. Zulily is a retailer that caters to young mothers and children.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: You Can't Stem the Rising Tide at Celgene and Stock Downgrades: Grim Prognosis for Quest Diagnostics)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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