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New Stock Coverage: Sprint Stuck in the Starting Blocks

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

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Stocks surged yet again, with the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) now up for three straight sessions in the sort of day only Michael Moore could dread. Compounding his misery was news that Midland, Texas - indelibly associated with Dubya - has the highest median household income in America. Still, the filmmaker should keep his chin up, so to speak, for Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KYTH) gained 25.11% to top the entire Nasdaq Index (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) on high hopes for its…well, you know. Not all shares shared in the overall ebullience. Hooker Furniture (NASDAQ:HOFT) fell 1.76% and fragrance maker Coty Inc. (NYSE:COTY) - home to a scent Lady Gaga says "smells like an expensive hooker" cratered 3.35% to a fresh low. One only hopes all these oldest professionals turned to the portfolio protection of Trojan condoms maker Church & Dwight (NYSE:CHD), which jumped 2.20% on a broker boost. Alas, BigChurch.com parent FriendFinder (OTCMKTS:FFNT), better known as the owner of Penthouse, fared less well, imploding 83.84% after entering chapter 11. These days, "friends" are found not in musty magazines but on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), which advanced 6.02% to buck a three-session slump in some style.

Today the Federal Open Market Committee concludes its two-day policy setting meeting in Washington, DC, with an interest rate announcement expected at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Ben Bernanke is due to host a press conference at 2:30 p.m. In corporate earnings action, Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL), FedEx (NYSE:FDX), General Mills (NYSE:GIS), Manchester United (NYSE:MANU), and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) are all slated to release results.

Allstate (NYSE:ALL): Guggenheim begins the insurance outfit with a Buy rating and $63 price objective.

Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN): Shares are set an Overweight at Piper Jaffray, whose target is $26.

Frank's International (NYSE:FI): UBS has a fresh Buy on the oil and gas firm and Barclays (Overweight with a $35 price objective) is equally upbeat. Goldman Sachs, with a new Neutral, advises greater caution.

New Gold (NYSEMKT:NGD): Barclays begins coverage at Equal Weight. Its price target is $8.

Nucor (NYSE:NUE): NUE is a new Outperform at BMO Capital Markets, whose target price target is $54.

Phillips 66 Partners (NYSE:PSXP): The limited partnership is picked up with a Neutral at Citigroup.

Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG): Shares are a new Neutral at Janney.

SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY): Citing the stock's steep valuation, even as an investment tax credit ultimately bodes well, Robert W. Baird resumes the alternative energy name at a Neutral. Its target is $37.

Telecoms: Credit Suisse covers dual Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) components AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) (Outperform) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) (Neutral), has a bearish Underperform on Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S), and establishes Outperform-rated research on T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS).

Teleflex (NYSE:TFX): The medical appliance outfit is assigned an Outperform and $94 target at JMP Securities.

US Steel (NYSE:X): BMO Capital Markets covers the commodity company at a Market Perform. Its objective is $19.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Tilly's Is a Teenage Dream and Stock Downgrades: Procter & Gamble Is All Out of Luvs.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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