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New Stock Coverage: Can Johnson & Johnson Be Market's Band-Aid?

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

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Ben Bernanke, clearly no Keynesian, recently delivered a speech entitled "Economic Prospects for the Long Run." What, then, would he make of the extremely short-term stock gyrations caused by his every muttering? The Dow (^DJI), up over 150 at its peak, subsequently tumbled by triple digits in its wildest high-to-close gyration since the March 2009 market bottom. This after the Fed head took his chrome dome to the Capitol dome and confused everyone, perhaps even including himself. (The follicularly-challenged central banker must truly be tearing his hair out right about now, for Rogaine maker Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has just been assigned a "Sell" rating.) Thus in the space of one spacy session, investors learned the age-old adage that what goes up, must come down. Especially if you are legally blonde and attempting to go up a down escalator at Saks (SKS), which did at least have the decency to surge 13.39%. The wooden escalators at Macy's (M) must be much easier to use, and yesterday sent that stock to the highest level in its illustrious history.

Today in economics, analysts expect April new home sales to improve on the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings activity, Advance Auto Parts (AAP), GameStop (GME), Gap Inc. (GPS), Hormel Foods (HRL), Lenovo (OTCMKTS:LNVGY), Ralph Lauren (RL), Ross Stores (ROST), SABMiller (OTCMKTS:SBMRY), salesforce.com (CRM), Signet Jewelers (SIG), Sears (SHLD), and Williams-Sonoma (WSM) are all due to release results.

Bayer (OTCMKTS:BAYRY): On a day the market may have a headache, Morgan Stanley starts the Aspirin maker at Equal-Weight.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): The fast food firm is a fresh Neutral at Credit Suisse.

CoStar Group (CSGP): Wells Fargo covers the property management company at Outperform.

Gartner (IT): IT is a new Market Perform at BMO Capital.

Hotel Stocks: Stifel has Holds on Choice Hotels (CHH) and Hyatt Hotels (H).

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ): Today's equity futures are down on Wall Street but stock in this key Dow (^DJI) component, whose ubiquitous brands include Band-Aid and Tylenol, has increased for 20 straight weeks in a feat not seen anywhere since 1990. Still, Credit Suisse begins bearish rated research, assuming coverage at Underperform.

Lannett (LCI): LCI is launched with a Buy at Needham, whose price objective is $15. Catalysts include additional generic drug approvals and product filings.

Marriot Vacations (VAC): The timeshare name is begun with a Buy assessment and $55 target price at Stifel, which says dividend and stock buybacks are both distinct possibilities.

Merck KGaA (OTCMKTS:KGAY): The German outfit - an entity distinct from America's Merck (MRK) - is initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

New Gold (NGD): Global Hunter covers the commodity company, up 1.53% in yesterday's down market, at a Buy.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Mystic Meg Predicts Profits at Hewlett-Packard and Stock Downgrades: A Farewell to ARM Holdings.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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