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New Stock Coverage: Sprint Stuck in the Starting Block

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

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The S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) advanced 5.2% on the month in posting its best January performance since 1997, the year of Elton John's elegiac ode to the dead Diana, Candle in the Wind. (Still the best method for generating light, if last night's 34-minute electricity blackout involving the 49ers of Candlestick Park is any indication.)

A wit once said that gridiron combines the "two worst features of American life: violence punctuated by committee meetings." As with all the best jokes, the zinger contains ample truth, since firearms firm Smith & Wesson (SWHC) is now up 258% in the past four years and consulting company Accenture (ACN) finished Friday at the highest level in its history.

Still, the Super Bowl and specifically its ads can indeed move markets. Witness supermodel Kate Upton's pitch for Mercedes-Benz, which has already seen its parent Daimler (PINK:DDAIF) score an analyst upgrade today. Kate is, of course, related to controversial outgoing Chesapeake Energy (CHK) CEO Aubrey McClendon, although shareholders are happy he has now been disowned by the company. Facebook (FB) is famous for reuniting long-lost relatives - including the recent example of a brother and sister after 65 years - but a fat lot of good that did the firm, which fell 5.7% on the week.

This morning in economics, factory orders for December are due at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. About half of the S&P 500 (^GSPC) companies have now announced earnings, with today's results expected to include Anglo American Platinum (PINK:AGPPY), Clorox (CLX), Gannett (GCI), Humana (HUM), Leggett & Platt (LEG), Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL), Sysco Corporation (SYY), and Yum Brands (YUM).

Copa Holdings (CPA): The Latin air carrier is launched with an Outperform at Credit Suisse.

European Banks: Canaccord has a Hold and $31.79 price objective on Credit Suisse (CS). It begins Buy rated coverage on both Deutsche Bank (DB) ($61.07 target price) and UBS AG (UBS) ($26.37.)

Fusion-io (FIO): FIO is a fresh Neutral at UBS.

Procera Networks (PKT): Shares are picked up with a Buy at Needham, which assigns a $25 target on a company it says is quickly gaining market share from integrated router vendors such as Cisco Systems (CSCO).

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S): Cowen assigns Neutral rated research on the telecom stock.

Winthrop Realty Trust (FUR): MLV & Co covers the company at a Buy, setting a $13.50 objective.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Things Looking Better in the BlackBerry Patch and Stock Downgrades: Bear Hug for Hershey's Kisses.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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