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New Stock Coverage: Bet the Bank on Baxter International Inc.

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

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With newspapers all the rage, the red ink was in black and white on Wall Street, as Washington Post's (WPO) 4.27% breakout to a half-decade high proved powerless to prevent equities from enduring their worst day since a late-June swoon. Jeff Bezos, who evidently enjoys investing in dinosaur industries and 10,000 year clocks in equal measure, hit double pay dirt as watchmaker Fossil (FOSL) surged 17.81% to top the entire S&P 500 (^GSPC). (This only one day after it was the index's single poorest performer. Never mind ten millenia - in finance, 24 hours is an absolute eternity.) Monday was all about 2 Guns, to quote the title of America's top movie, as firearms firms Sturm Ruger (RGR) and Smith & Wesson (SWHC) rose a respective 2.56% and 6.27%. By Tuesday, it was the turn of the silver bullet, with Molson Coors (TAP) jumping 6.35% to a fresh 52-week peak. Plain Jane's in Paris, home to innumerable shotgun weddings as the world's most romantic city, had the last laugh as the preening models of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) lost their shirts after a 4.05% fall.

There isn't any top-tier economic data due today, but quarterly earnings announcements are expected out of AOL, Inc. (AOL), Duke Energy (DUK), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), Groupon (GRPN), Mondelez (MDLZ), Ralph Lauren (RL), Tesla Motors (TSLA), Time Warner (TWX), Transocean (RIG), and Wendy's (WEN).

Activision Blizzard (ATVI): Shares are begun with a Buy rating and $20.31 target price at The Benchmark Company. Catalysts include its promising pipeline of products and a strong management team.

Baxter International Inc. (BAX): Goldman Sachs covers the company with a bullish Conviction Buy recommendation.

Endologix (ELGX): The medical instruments outfit is initiated with a Buy at Canaccord Genuity.

IGI Laboratories, Inc. (IG): Roth Capital launches Buy-rated research on the biotech, establishing a price objective of $3.50.

NII Holdings (NIHD): NIHD is a new Sell at Citigroup.

Plains All American (PAA): Saying it sees recent share price weakness as a buying opportunity, Oppenheimer picks up the stock at Outperform. Its price objective is $65. (Separately, the stock was also upgraded at Credit Suisse this morning.)

Sun Life (SLF): Shares are started at Equal Weight by Barclays.

Vodafone (VOD): Raymond James resumes the European telecom titan at Outperform, sending it up ahead of the open.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Yum Brands, Inc. Is Good Enough to Eat and Stock Downgrades: Zillow Inc Is in Real Trouble.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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