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New Stock Coverage: Philip Morris Is Not Smoking Hot


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

Say "1848" in Europe, and it immediately conjures up images of the "Year of Revolutions," when comrades of Karl Marx and the downtrodden masses of Les Misérables rose up in arms against their capitalist masters. Say "1,848" (give or take .38) to the top 1% in America right now, and it relates to the record high that the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) closed at on Wednesday. As Mr. Marx himself once said, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce." At least I think that's what he said. Perhaps his words were Lost in Translation. After all, that has proven to be a pretty profitable strategy on Wall Street this week, what with Beam Inc. (NYSE:BEAM) jumping 25.56% on Monday after being bought by Suntory. The Tower of Babel is equally alive at surging Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), which advanced another 1.77% after a key executive hailed its "reckless" growth. (The momentum stock's next slip, and you can rest assured it is coming soon, will surely be a Freudian one.) Among other stocks on the move, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) advanced 2.01% on a deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL). One wonders, however, if entering a country that just relaxed its "one child" policy is a smart move. After all, the tech titan just had to pay $32.5 million for child's play. (Personally, I blame the Grown Ups. They really are awful.) And, in an utterly eerie coincidence, on the same day Forbes magazine announced it was leaving its longtime headquarters on Fifth Avenue and East 13th Street in Greenwich Village, there was a flood on Fifth Avenue and East 13th Street in Greenwich Village. In the wise words of France's Louis XV - he whose burning Bastille lit the slow fuse for the revolutions of 1848 - "Après moi, le déluge".

In terms of economic events that may move US stock markets today, the January Philadelphia Fed Index is expected to show improvement from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, American Express (NYSE:AXP), BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), and Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM) all announce earnings.

FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE): Shares, which surged some 11.18% on Wednesday, are up again this morning following a fresh Outperform opinion with William Blair.

Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM): Cigarette stock Philip Morris International is assigned a lukewarm Neutral rating by BNP Paribas, whose price objective is $90. In addition to its eponymous puffs, the tobacco titan also owns Marlboro and Virginia Slims.

Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ:RVBD): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch launches Neutral-rated research on RVBD.

SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY): Some guys have all the luck. SolarCity, whose Chairman is Elon Musk of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) fame, sees its stock begun with a bullish Buy at Deutsche Bank. The brokerage sees prolific growth in SolarCity's installed base.

SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR): Staying in the sector, JPMorgan establishes an Overweight on SPWR.

Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI): Jefferies has a Hold on the stock.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR): There is no keeping Twitter out of the news, and today its stock is picked up at Telsey Advisory Group. (Note that this brokerage boutique does not offer any official "Buy," "Sell," or "Hold" ratings.)

See also:

Stock Upgrades: Hewlett-Packard Boosted by Bank of America, Neither of Which Need the Dow

Stock Downgrades: Time to Disown Family Dollar
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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