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New Stock Coverage: There's No Place Like 'Home' for Facebook


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

Stocks took a brief break from geopolitical problems in Pyongyang to resume partying Gangnam Style. While Seoul's own Samsung Electronics (PINK:SSNLF) hits pay dirt, its neighbor to the north is forced to feed citizens grass.

Capitalism may have its ills, and this morning's US unemployment lines remained far too lengthy, but most would agree it is far preferable to the Communist alternative. Samsung's arch rival ended off 0.99% even amid a bullish analyst initiation. Perhaps investors recoiled at this erstwhile go-go growth name now being seen as a stodgy storage company.

Talk about damning with faint praise, especially on a day longtime industry leader Teradata (TDC) tumbled an S&P 500 (^GSPC)-worst 7.45%. Steve Jobs' garage once stored iconic inventions but yesterday Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) version was the better place to park your money, advancing 1.78% before a board shake up.

This afternoon in economics, analysts expect February consumer credit to contract from the previous month's pace at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. There are no major earnings announcements to end the week, but Monday ushers in the unofficial start of quarterly reporting season when Alcoa (AA) releases results.

Cable Companies: Robert W. Baird rolls out a quartet of new Neutrals on Cablevision (CVC), Charter Communications (CHTR), Comcast (CMCSA), and Time Warner Cable (TWC). Its respective price objectives are $16, $108, $44, and $102. A generally favorable industry outlook is balanced out by relatively rich current valuations, the broker believes.

(See also: Will Aereo Threaten Broadcasters and Their Owners?)

Carbo Ceramics (CRR): CRR is covered with a Neutral at Sterne Agee.

Commodity Companies: FBR Capital has a fresh Outperform on Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), assigning a $41 objective on an outfit it sees as a longer-term supply growth story. Southern Copper (SCCO) ($32 price target) and Teck Resources (TCK) ($29 price target) are only Market Perform due to the current softness in copper prices.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): The social networking stock, a strong performer yesterday, is begun with a Strong Buy at Oracle Investment. Its newly unveiled mobile "Home" Android software is attracting early plaudits. (Adding to the optimism, Argus has also upgraded the shares.)

Fast Food: Stephens starts Equal Weights on Burger King (BKW) and Wendy's (WEN) but it is more bullish on McDonald's (MCD), rating the important Dow (^DJI) member an Overweight.

Education Stocks: Compass Point picks up Apollo Group (APOL) with a Sell, assigning a price objective of $15 on a name it notes has now endured ten straight quarters of falling enrollment growth. Corinthian Colleges (COSO) has an identical rating, and $1.50 target price, due to liquidity issues and regulatory exposure. Rival ITT Educational Services (ESI) is a new Neutral with a $12 target price amid concerns over increasing tuition costs and student debt loads. DeVry (DV), by contrast, is begun with a bullish Buy and $37 objective on account of its relatively robust balance sheet and a stabilization in operating trends.

Graphic Packaging (GPK): Citigroup starts Buy rated research on GPK.

Managed Care: The recently resurgent sector today gets a quintet of initiations at UBS, which begins Buys on Aetna Inc. (AET), Cigna (CI), and Dow (^DJI) member UnitedHealth (UNH), while establishing new Neutrals on Humana (HUM) and WellPoint (WLP).

RLJ Lodging Trust (RLJ) The hotel/motel Real Estate Investment Trust is resumed with an Outperform and $25 target at Robert W. Baird, which cites its capital investment program and an attractive valuation relative to competitors.

Supervalu (SVU): Goldman Sachs starts the supermarket stock at a Neutral.

ViewPoint Financial (VPFG): Shares are a fresh Outperform at Raymond James.

Warner Chilcott (WCRX): Citi starts the Dublin drug-maker at a Neutral.

Workday, Inc. (WDAY): The company, whose application software is widely used in human resources departments, is this morning begun with a Buy at Jefferies. Today's disappointing jobs data are weighing on equities overall this morning, however.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Fast Money Makes a Run on JPMorgan Chase and Stock Downgrades: Mattel Not Worth the Fisher-Price?)
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