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New Stock Coverage: Bank of Ireland Cries Into Its Guinness


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

Equities partied like it was 1999 as the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) hit its highest level since 2000, the year a Damascus dictator named Assad died to spawn hopes of a new dawn in Syria. (That one is not working out so well.) Among stocks on the move, cosmetics company Estèe Lauder (NYSE:EL) advanced 2.83% on an analyst upgrade. Clearly, as illustrated in that remarkable recent photo of a fair maiden in Lebanon applying lipstick amid the wreckage of a car bomb, a girl's still gotta look good even as Middle Eastern storm clouds amass.

Elsewhere, trading in Activia owner Danone (OTCMKTS:DANOY) was highly irregular, dropping even on an enormous up day in equities. This after a rating reduction on the maker of Greek Oikos yogurt, hitherto about the only thing giving Athens hope but now under increasing attack. Verizon (NYSE:VZ), which tumbled 2.2% last week, dropped a Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI)-worst 0.93% yesterday. Ever since its Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) deal, it has been a case of "Après moi, le déluge" for the telecom titan badly hit by Superstorm Sandy. At least it is now preparing for the next thousand-year flood with 100-year bonds.

No top-tier economic data due today, but Restoration Hardware (NYSE:RH) and Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) are each expected to announce earnings.

Agree Realty (NYSE:ADC): The property manager is picked up with a Buy at Janney.

Bank of Ireland (NYSE:IRE): Société Générale starts its fellow financial firm at a Sell.

Blackstone Mortgage Trust (NYSE:BXMT): Shares are a new Outperform at JMP Securities, whose price target is $27.50.

C&J Energy Services (NYSE:CJES): The oil and gas company gets covered at an Overweight by Barclays.

Cardiovascular Systems (NASDAQ:CSII): Benchmark Company starts the stock with a Speculative Buy, assigning a $26 target price amid optimism over its Stealth 360 catheter platform to treat plaque problems.

Haemonetics (NYSE:HAE): Shares are begun with a Buy at Benchmark Company, whose price objective is $49.

Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN): The biotech is assigned an Outperform with Wells Fargo.

iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT): Susquehanna starts the surgical stock with a Positive assessment.

Nationstar Mortgage (NYSE:NSM): NSM is a new Outperform at Oppenheimer.

Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ:SFM): The recent initial public offering gets launched with an Underperform at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Neutral by both Goldman Sachs and UBS.

Storage Stocks: Extra Space Storage (NYSE:EXR) and Sovran Self Storage(NYSE:SSS) are each started at Outperform by Macquarie.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: E*TRADE Babies Enjoy Mother of All Rallies and Stock Downgrades: D.R. Horton Hears a Boo.)
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