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New Stock Coverage: JC Penney Might Be Worth a Wooden Nickel After All

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

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And on the seventh day…well, shares really should have rested in due deference to the new pope, but by now it appears that nothing short of divine intervention will derail Wall Street's bull run. Thus this morning, the Dow (^DJI) embarks on an attempt to set its eighth straight record.

"A president, a pope, and a prime minister" - it sound like the start of a barroom joke, but for those of us who came of age in the '80s, that refers to the remarkable trio who won the Cold War without firing a shot. Yesterday, it also proved pretty profitable investment advice. The president? International Business Machines (IBM), which arrived on the scene as did Ronald Reagan in 1911, hit the highest level in its illustrious history to best all blue chips.

The pope? Having just paid tribute to St. Francis of Assisi, it was only fitting animal health outfit Zoetis (ZTS) attracted such upbeat analyst chatter. And as for the prime minister, well, Maggie didn't half love handbags, and doubtless enjoyed Coach Inc. (COH) riding bullish research to end up 1.76%. The Iron Lady would not, however, be amused at ailing iron ore company Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) cratering another 4.86% in again posting the S&P 500's (^GSPC) poorest performance.

Today's earnings announcements are due to include Aéropostale (ARO), Deutsche Lufthansa (PINK:DLAKY), Dynegy (DYN), Ulta Salon (ULTA), and Volkswagen (PINK:VLKPY).

Apparel Stores: Ascendiant Capital Markets covers Chico's FAS (CHS) at a Strong Buy and assigns a Buy on Urban Outfitters (URBN), establishing respective price objectives of $26 and $47. The former should benefit from compelling demographics of its core clientele, while the latter is hailed for a strong balance sheet and impressive executive team.

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP): Shares have slumped thus far in 2013 but are up nicely before this morning's opening bell after being initiated with a Buy at BTIG, whose price target is $22.

Medical Appliance Stocks: Abiomed (ABMD) is assigned an Outperform at William Blair, which establishes Outperforms on HeartWare (HTWR) and Thoratec (THOR).

Homebuilders: Toll Brothers (TOL) is initiated with an Underperform at Sterne Agee, which has new Neutrals on Lennar (LEN) and KB Home (KBH) and begins Buys on Beazer Homes (BZH), DR Horton (DHI), Meritage Homes (MTH), PulteGroup (PHM), and Ryland Group (RYL).

Wells Fargo (WFC): BMO Capital rates the banking behemoth no better than a Market Perform in new coverage.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Coca-Cola Set for Nice Pop and Stock Downgrades: Analyst Throws the Book at Amazon.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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