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New Stock Coverage: X Marks the Sweet Spot for Xilinx

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

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T.S. Eliot claimed -- in the Roaring Twenties no less -- that "April is the cruellest month." Dude was far from a flaky artist, having actually been a banker for years, so four weeks from now we may yet be left cursing a Waste Land. Not, however, if April's first two trading sessions are any indication. The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) just hit the highest level in its history, with investors celebrating National Walking Day by embarking on a highly profitable Random Walk Down Wall Street. Even as New York cops increasingly crack down on the practice, being a Jay Walker was just the traffic ticket for Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), which took its two-session surge to 6.21%. (Walk, don't run, mind you. Especially with Sprint (NYSE:S) slumping 1.88% amid the green ink.) Elsewhere, it was a good day for Hugh Grant as Monsanto (NYSE:MON) beat Street estimates, and an even better one for Michael Jackson, what with AutoNation (NYSE:AN) rising to an all-time best.
 
Today in economics, March's Institute for Supply Management services index is expected to tick up from February's pace at 10:00 a.m. EDT. On the earnings front, Global Payments (NYSE:GPN) and Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) each release results.
 
Blackstone (NYSE:BX): Sanford Bernstein launches the limited partnership at Outperform. Its price objective is $44.
 
China Mobile Games (NASDAQ:CMGE): Shares are begun with an Overweight rating, and $32 target price, at Barclays.
 
Dollar General (NYSE:DG): Jefferies has a Hold and $56 objective on the discount retailer.
 
Food Stocks: Morgan Stanley starts Equal-Weights on ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) and J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM).
 
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (NYSE:KKR): The stock is begun with an Outperform and $33 price target by Bernstein.
 
Oil Stocks: BMO Capital begins covering dual Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) components Chevron (NYSE:CVX) (Market Perform) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) (Underperform).
 
SemiconductorsAltera (NASDAQ:ALTR) and Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) are each assigned Outperforms at FBR Capital, which points to Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs) as a potential cash cow for the companies.
 
Total S.A. (NYSE:TOT): Cowen has a fresh Outperform on the French energy firm.

Also see:

Stock Upgrades: Citigroup Says OpenTable Is a Table-Pounding Buy

Stock Downgrades: It's Open Season on Citigroup

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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