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New Stock Coverage: Perry Ellis Is Dressed for Success


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

March may be known for coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb, but February was all bull in equities, due in no small measure to a man whose love of the animal knows no end. Herbalife (HLF) surged some 7.61% yesterday, thrilling Mr. Icahn at the end of another strong month for the stock market.

Still, the Dow (^DJI) didn't quite make it to an historic high; "close but no cigar" is an apt description on another desultory day in the tobacco sector. Beijing-based instruction outfit ChinaEdu (CEDU) jumped 28.33% to top the Nasdaq (^IXIC) but wasn't the day's most inspiring story in education. That honor goes to the 106-year-old who is getting her high school diploma.

On college campuses, the student debt crisis means Grandpa is footing more of the bill, and for such worthy courses as Harvard's "HBO's The Wire and Its Contribution to Understanding Inequality." The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) slid 7.33%, and is falling a further 5.88% before the opening bell after a downgrade followed iffy earnings. It's enough to turn the tartan army to drink, had they not just inadvertently flushed 6,000 gallons of whisky (that's the proper spelling, and anyway, our kilted clansmen are in absolutely no position to buy a vowel at present) down the drain.

Elsewhere a lingering sales boost from the bondage of 50 Shades of Grey may not be enough to keep Barnes & Noble (BKS) solvent for much longer after its annual earnings imploded 8.8%. Adding insult to injury, the 1982 classic Beat Me, Whip Me, Make Me Write Bad Checks is currently out of print at Amazon (AMZN).

Today in economics, at 9:55 a.m. Eastern we get the final February figure for consumer confidence from the University of Michigan, followed at 10:00 a.m. by both January construction spending and last month's Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index. On the earnings front, Best Buy (BBY), Foster Wheeler (FWLT), Lloyds Banking Group (LYG), Pepco Holdings (POM), Vanguard Natural Resources (VNR), and British-based advertising giant WPP plc (PINK:WPPGY) are all expected to release results.

Acuity Brands (AYI): Shares are assigned a Market Perform at Northland Capital, whose price objective is $71.

Coronado Biosciences (CNDO): Piper Jaffray picks the stock up at Overweight.

J&J Snack Foods (JJSF): The pretzel powerhouse is picked up with an Outperform at William Blair.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH): Deutsche Bank has a Hold rating and $34 target on the recent initial public offering.

Perry Ellis International (NASDAQ:PERY): The apparel outfit is begun with a Buy recommendation and $22 price target at Roth Capital.

Solar Stocks: First Solar (FSLR) is a fresh Underperform at Northland Capital, whose target price is $20. Meanwhile SunPower (SPWR) is started with an Outperform and set an objective of $14.

TCP Capital (TCPC): Shares are covered with a Buy and $17.50 price objective at Wunderlich, which says it will return shareholders roughly 10% in dividends in addition to capital gains.

Tesla Motors (TSLA): Northland has a new Outperform, and $42 target, on the electric car company.

Western Gas Equity Partners (WGP): Shares get assigned a Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Western Refining (WNR): Barclays begins Overweight rated research on WNR.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Bulls Are Eyeing Target and Stock Downgrades: There's the Beef With Wendy's.)
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