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New Stock Coverage: Harry Winston Diamond Still Sparkles

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

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Dear Abby: What's the difference between a wife and a mistress? -Bess.
Dear Bess: Night and day.

Pauline Phillips, the iconic advice columnist who passed away at 94, could easily have been describing the wildly disparate Dow (^DJI) performances of Wednesday and Thursday in her above one-liner. Blue chips bounced back from their Hump Day retreat to post their strongest showing for some time yesterday.

The outdoor billboards of CBS Corporation (CBS) warned us all that the world would end on May 21, 2011. (As with the Mayans, that particular prophecy of doom never did come to pass, but maybe it'll be third time lucky.) Anyway, it's just as well for the "Tiffany Network" that we're still here, for it just surged 7.93% after analyst upgrade and spin-off of its outdoor advertising unit, with the stock now standing at an historic peak.

The General Motors (GM) CEO who said the "sun will be on our backs" may have actually been crazy like a fox with his malapropism, for Canadian Solar's (CSIQ) 6.73% increase put wind turbine maker American Superconductor's (AMSC) 1.44% advance in the shade. And housing starts hit their highest level since June 2008, although a big building on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is still worth less than it was at its peak.

Ahead of the holiday weekend, an improvement is expected in the University of Michigan's January consumer sentiment survey at 9:55 a.m. Eastern.

It's another full Friday for fourth quarter earnings, with key Dow (^DJI) component General Electric (GE) having already revealed a well-received set of numbers. Johnson Controls (JCI), Morgan Stanley (MS), Parker-Hannifin (PH), Rockwell Collins (COL), Schlumberger (SLB), State Street (STT), and SunTrust Banks (STI) are all also scheduled to release results.

ACCO Brands (ACCO): Barclays begins Equal Weight rated research on ACCO.

Biotechnology: Piper Jaffray picks up Oncothyreon (ONTY) at Underweight, has new Neutrals on Threshold Pharmaceuticals (THLD) and ZIOPHARM (ZIOP), and assigns Overweights on Geron (GERN) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO).

Harry Winston Diamond (NYSE:HWD) The stock, up sharply this week, is begun with a Buy at Nomura.

Starz (STRZA): Barclays starts the recent spin-off at Equal Weight while Susquehanna has a new Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Visa Not Where You Want to Be and Stock Upgrades: Time Is Money for Movado.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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