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New Stock Coverage: Diamond Seller Blue Nile Set to Sparkle

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

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In the battle between Zimmer and Zimmer (NYSE:ZMH), Zimmer won. An upgrade-inspired 3.69% gain in George's former firm Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) was ultimately outweighed by the medical device maker taking a 2.31% tumble on merger-related competitive concerns. As a result, the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) slumped for a fifth straight session for its worst streak of 2013. Wall Street hit a brick wall with Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), which dropped 1.45% to lead blue chip laggards. (Sesame Street did better by the Bentonville behemoth, with its cookie monster finding 200 bucks among its biscuits.)

Elsewhere, shoe stock DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSW) dropped on a decidedly lukewarm analyst initiation at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Talk about kicking the company when it's down; the big bank previously put the footwear firm's lower Manhattan location out of business to make room for its new headquarters. And, like all the best jokes, that old saw about weather forecasters having been created in order to make economists look good is all too true. An Atlantic hurricane season that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned us months ago would be worryingly "above normal" is exiting with barely a whimper.

Today's economic data includes August pending home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, with analysts calling for a fall. In earnings action, consulting company Accenture (NYSE:ACN), fashion firm Hennes & Mauritz (OTCMKTS:HNNMY), spice stock McCormick (NYSE:MKC), and Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) newbie Nike (NYSE:NKE) are all due to release results.

ARI Network Services (OTCMKTS:ARIS): The application software stock is started with a Buy at Ascendiant Capital Markets.

Bank of Kentucky (NASDAQ:BKYF): DA Davidson covers the company at a Buy.

Blue Nile (NASDAQ:NILE): The online diamond retailer is resumed with an upbeat Buy at B. Riley, whose price target is $49. Catalysts include an improving economy, compelling demographics, and e-commerce opportunities.

Chinese Internet Stocks: Credit Suisse has a new Neutral on Sina Corporation (NASDAQ:SINA). It rolls out Outperfoms on Baidu (NASDSAQ:BIDU), Changyou (NASDAQ:CYOU), Ctrip.com (NASDAQ:CTRP), Dangdang (NYSE:DANG), and Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU).

First Merchants (NASDAQ:FRME): The regional bank gets begun with a Buy recommendation and $22 target price at DA Davidson, which applauds its compelling risk/reward profile.

Food & Grocery: Deutsche Bank has Holds on Pantry (NASDAQ:PTRY), Spartan Stores (NASDAQ:SPTN), Sysco (NYSE:SYY), and United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI). It begins Buys on Kroger (NYSE:KR), Safeway (NYSE:SWY), Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ:SFM), The Fresh Market (NASDAQ:TFM), and Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM), the gourmet grocer recently trading atop historic highs.

Oil & Gas: Northland Capital assigns new Outperforms on Evolution Petroleum (NYSE:EPM), Gulfport Energy (NASDAQ:GPOR), and Laredo Petroleum (NYSE:LPI), establishing respective price objectives of $14.50, $74, and $36.

Owens Corning (NYSE:OC): Shares in the building materials firm are a fresh Buy at Jefferies, whose price target is $55.

Tidewater (NYSE:TDW): Citing the stock's high operating leverage, Wunderlich begins Buy-rated research. Its objective is $76.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Diamond Foods Looks Like a Gem and Stock Downgrades: Diamondback Energy Is Strictly Rhinestone.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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