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New Stock Coverage: Cash in the Attic at eBay


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

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.
– Robert Burns.

Some say Scotland's prophetic national poet, who will be toasted the world over tonight, was referring to Logitech (LOGI) in his ode To A Mouse. After all, the company is the world's biggest maker of computer mice and its shares just slumped 8.15% after announcing a $195 million third-quarter loss.

He could just as easily have been talking about Apple Inc. (AAPL), however, as a stock which was once Wall Street's darling suddenly finds itself utterly unloved. Certainly, Mr. Burns' assurance that "There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing" will have carried special resonance for anyone who owns a previously can't-miss investment.

The chill which hit the Big Apple yesterday - and please spare a thought for the kilt-wearing Tartan Army in this windy wintry weather - was nothing compared with Apple's exile in Siberia. It tumbled 12.35% en route to posting the S&P 500′s (^GSPC) poorest performance. At last count no fewer than 18 brokerages cut ratings and targets on the Cupertino firm, the worms turning quicker than Carrie Bradshaw did in abruptly abandoning her Mac for a Hewlett-Packard (HPQ).

Today in economics, analysts are expecting an increase in December new home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. A breathless week for fourth quarter earnings announcements concludes with Covidien (COV), Halliburton (HAL), Honeywell (HON), Kimberly-Clark (KMB), Procter & Gamble (PG), Samsung Electronics (PINK:SSNLF), and Weyerhaeuser (WY) all due to report results.

Accenture (ACN): The consulting company is covered at Overweight by Evercore, which assigns it a price objective of $86.

Boston Properties (BXP): Evercore resumes Overweight rated research, and a $120 target price, on the Real Estate Investment Trust.

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY): Susquehanna starts the online marketplace with a Positive recommendation and $66 objective. (Note that the stock was also upgraded at Sanford Bernstein today.)

Insurance Brokers: Aon plc (AON), trading at historic highs, and Brown & Brown(BRO) are both begun with Market Performs at Wells Fargo, which rates Marsh & McLennan (MMC) an Outperform.

Red Hat (RHT): Northland Securities rolls out Outperform rated research, and a $65 target, on RHT.

Starz (STRZA): The recent media spin-off is rated an Underweight at Evercore.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Saying Goodbye to Goldman and Stock Upgrades: Tiffany's Time to Shine?)
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