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New Stock Coverage: Scarlet Letter for Crimson Exploration


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

On a light volume day when Wall Street traders didn't have much company, one was anything but the loneliest number. The Dow (^DJI) added on 111 to another new record, while S&P 500 (^GSPC) shares stand a sole point away from an historic summit of their own.

Concerns over Europe, whose official anthem is preposterously "Ode to Joy," abated for 24-hours, and Ludwig van Beethoven's Stateside mood music was much more the market's liking, with Steinway Musical Instruments (LVB) surging some 3.64%. (Looking at today's Italian angst, the EU's song should surely be "Waterloo," especially with BlackBerry (BBRY) - based in that Ontario town - lately enduring a tough time of it.)

Language translator Rosetta Stone (RST) rose 2.82% to finish at a fresh 52-week peak; send some of the product, if not its stock, to the Dutch finance minister currently trapped in a Tower of Babel. St. Jude Medical (STJ) fell 1.98%, so "Say a Little Prayer" for it. "Do You Know The Way to San Jose?" One hopes so, with eBay Inc. (EBAY), based in California's third-largest city, having just jumped 1.52%. Please deliver some stock options to poor Dionne Warwick, pronto.

Today in economics, analysts expect a slight slippage in pending home sales for February at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, expect Allied Irish Banks (AIB), China Automotive (CAAS), China Life Insurance (LFC), Paychex (PAYX), PVH Corp. (PVH), Red Hat (RHT), and Texas Industries (TXI) to release results.

Crimson Exploration (NASDAQ:CXPO): Canaccord rates the Houston energy firm a Hold, which institutional investors often take as Wall Street research speak for "sell."

Fifth Street Finance (FSC): JPMorgan has a fresh Overweight on FSC.

MasTec (MTZ): The Coral Gables construction company is covered with a Buy at Lazard Capital.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW): Needham picks up the recent Initial Public Offering at a Buy and sets it a $70 target price. The firm's 'next generation firewall' offerings are seen as particularly promising, in the broker's opinion. (CRM): Stephens starts the stock at Overweight.

The Medicines Company (MDCO): Shares, a strong performer yesterday, get begun with a Buy at Guggenheim.

Vascular Solutions (VASC): Piper Jaffray assigns an Overweight on the medical instrument outfit.

Weingarten Realty (WRI): Evercore resumes WRI at Equal Weight.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: AOL, You've Got a Check in the Mail and Stock Downgrades: Hump Day Headache for Cliffs Natural Resources.)
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