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New Stock Coverage: Animal Spirits Are Alive and Well at Zoetis

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

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For net profits, basketball's March Madness has nothing on the stock market version. Dow Industrials (^DJI) rose to their sixth straight record, even if the rally increasingly looks a little tired.

Twenty-four hours after Ford (F) reported a surge in Sino sales over the past eight weeks, Yum Brands (YUM) increased 1.31% on news that its performance in the country held up far better than expected in the first quarter. Analysts, however, caution that any economic statistics emanating from Beijing are often unreliable in the first two months of any annum, skewed as they are by the Chinese New Year. (The nation's financial data are, of course, utterly above reproach for the remainder of the year, and shame on anyone who implies otherwise.)

Shakespeare said, "There is divine providence in the fall of a sparrow," so heaven knows what he would make of 2,800 dead pigs floating in a Shanghai river. Surging pork powerhouse Smithfield Foods (SFD) took it as a sign to add on another 1.73% in finishing at a fresh 52-week peak. Unfortunately the usually unerring ability of Louis Vuitton (PINK:LVMUY) to make silk scarves out of sow's ears was a little lessened by an iffy analyst initiation.

The pace of economic data, previously quiet this week, picks up with January business inventories due out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Adecco (PINK:AHEXY), Cathay Pacific Airways (PINK:CPCAY), Coldwater Creek (CWTR), E.ON (PINK:EONGY), Express (EXPR), Guess (GES), Kronos (KRO), Men's Wearhouse (MW), TravelCenters of America (TA), and Vera Bradley Inc. (VRA) are all expected to report results.

Acadia Healthcare (ACHC): Cantor Fitzgerald has a fresh Buy, and $35 target price, on a firm it highlights as having an impressive scale and experienced management.

Christopher & Banks (CBK): CBK is covered with a Buy at Dougherty & Company, whose price target is $7.50. New CEO LuAnn Via is impressively embarking on the early stages of a turnaround, the broker believes.

Dril-Quip (DRQ): The oil and gas equipment outfit is launched with a Buy and $105 price objective at Lazard Capital.

Flagstar Bancorp (FBC): Shares are a fresh Sell at Compass Point, whose target is $12. Legacy mortgage origination issues remain an ongoing concern.

Francesca's Holdings (FRAN): Lazard covers the company at a Buy and sets a $35 price target.

HomeAway (AWAY): Janney has a Buy on the holiday rental outfit.

Micron Technology (MU): Shares are a new Neutral at SunTrust.

OraSure (OSUR): Shares are launched with a Buy at Longbow.

Stericycle (SRCL) Goldman Sachs starts SRCL at a Buy, setting a price objective of $115.

Tupperware Brands (TUP): Shares are begun with an Outperform at BMO Capital, whose price objective is $90.

Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS): The animal health outfit recently spun off from Pfizer (PFE) is only Equal Weight at Barclays and Neutral at Goldman Sachs. By contrast, Deutsche Bank, Guggenheim, Jefferies (all Buys), JPMorgan, and Piper Jaffray (both Overweights, the latter with a $40 objective) are more upbeat.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Here's Why It Pays to Discover and Stock Downgrades: Toy Story Has Unhappy Ending for Hasbro.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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