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New Stock Coverage: Starz Stuck in the Gutter?

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

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The S&P 500 (^GSPC) snapped an eight-session winning streak, although the measure's 5.2% increase this month still represents its best January since 1987. (If you don't want to know how that year ultimately panned out, look away now.) Oil, already on its best run since 2009, rose for an eighth straight day in a fitting tribute to J.R. Ewing's short-lived return to our TV screens last night.

Elsewhere Apple (AAPL) incurred another ratings reduction but by sheer force of willpower it advanced 2.26% in thumbing its nose at Will Power.

Today in economics, January consumer confidence is expected to slip slightly from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, and the Federal Open Market Committee starts its two-day policy meeting on interest rates.

In earnings action, Amazon (AMZN), Boston Scientific (BSX), Corning (GLW), D.R. Horton (DHI), Eli Lilly (LLY), Ford Motor (F), Harley-Davidson (HOG), JetBlue Airways (JBLU), Pfizer (PFE), and US Steel (X) are all due to report results.

AXIS Capital (AXS): The stock is assigned a Market Perform at Raymond James.

Clean Harbors (CLH): BB&T Capital covers the company at a Buy.

Laboratory Corp (LH): LH is launched with a Perform at Oppenheimer, which cites unavoidable industry headwinds among its reasons for not being more bullish.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH): The leisure company is a new Buy at Stifel Nicolaus, which notes it is poised for a 46% increase in capacity over the next three years.

Seadrill (SDRL): JPMorgan starts an Overweight on SDRL, sending shares up before the bell.

Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA): The recent media spin-off is started with a Sell at Lazard Capital, which assigns it a price objective of $13.

Theravance (THRX): Cowen begins the biotech at Outperform.

Zillow (Z): Shares are picked up at Telsey Advisory Group, whose target price is $38. Though Telsey does not issue official research ratings, it does note that the online real estate outfit holds the premier position in its industry.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Caterpillar Pays in Peoria and Stock Downgrades: Cash Registers Stop Ringing at NCR Corp.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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