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New Stock Coverage: Money Trees Growing in Forest City

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

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Green screens are suddenly everywhere on Wall Street, just in time for Saint Patrick's Day. Guinness maker Diageo (DEO) rose 2.32% to a new high, even if the bartending icon of America's most Irish city long ago lost his job to the Great Recession.

With the Dow (^DJI) rolling in clover at yet another historic best, the shamrock-colored logo of Hess Corp. (HES) was a license to make money, ending at a new peak of its own. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) shrugged off its shady hips in rising 0.70% for a fresh peak; clearly Lady Gaga, currently recovering from a hip operation in a gold wheelchair, went long the stock. Fellow blue chip JPMorgan (JPM), which kindly handed out candies to its recent bank robber, could afford such benevolence on a day it advanced 1.67%, but today's pre-market action in the stock calls for greater austerity.

And, boosted by China, solar power just reported a record year. Pity someone forgot to tell the country's Suntech Power (STP), which nosedived 19.28% and now stands at a scant $0.41. Today is a quarterly "quadruple witching" session, which rarely lacks action.

This morning in economics, analysts expect the first take on March consumer confidence from the University of Michigan to come in essentially unchanged at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, Brown Shoe Co. (BWS), Carnival Corporation (CCL), Hibbett Sports (HIBB), and Italy's biggest bank UniCredit S.p.A. (PINK:UNCFF) are all due to release results.

Akamai Technologies (AKAM): Shares are begun with a Buy and $44 target at Maxim Group, which says exponential increases in Internet Protocol traffic is a reason to invest in the name.

Amtrust Financial (AFSI): Shares are a new Neutral at Compass Point, which establishes a price objective of $36.

Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST): Credit Suisse covers the company at a Neutral.

Forest City Enterprises (FCE-A): ISI Group assigns a Strong Buy on the Ohio-based property manager. Its target price is $22.

Summit Hotel (INN): Raymond James has a new Outperform on INN.

Molycorp (MCP): Piper Jaffray picks up the rare earth metals miner, whose shares have imploded 80.04% over the past 12 months, at a Neutral.

Nexstar Broadcasting (NXST): The stock is begun with a Buy at UBS.

Response Genetics (RGDX): Roth Capital resumes Buy rated research on the small cap company.

SunCoke Energy Partners (SXCP): The limited partnership is launched with a Neutral at Citigroup.

Tower Group (TWGP): Compass covers the company with a Buy recommendation and $23 target. Catalysts include an impressive dividend yield and international diversification.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Nasdaq Parties Like It's 1999 and Stock Downgrades: Chuck Schwab Not Making Money Talk Today.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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