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New Stock Coverage: Time to Shop at Wal-Mart


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

On a day that should have been all about Sprint (S), which surged 13.50% to top the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC), unspeakable horror at a marathon altered everything and put mere money in perspective.

For what it's worth, bullion nosedived 9.4% and endured its worst one-day dollar drop since January 1980. That was the month The Pretenders had the decade's first number one single with "Brass in Pocket," but yesterday neither that metal, nor any other commodity, fattened investors wallets.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), slashed to "Sell" in the nick of time, imploded 8.30% in an all-too typical performance. Shipping stocks sank on an awful anniversary in nautical history as Odyssey Marine Exploration (OMEX) tumbled 12.11% and cursed Carnival Corp (CCL) lost another 2.81%. On top of its recent Triumph fiasco, the cruise company is now being vigorously pursued by lawyers in Italy for the Costa Concordia tragedy. Those Cuban refugees, just rescued by one of its ships, way want to turn back if capitalism is always as rocky as this.

Today sees quarterly earnings season start in earnest, with BlackRock (BLK), Coca-Cola (KO), Goldman Sachs (GS), Intel (INTC), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), TD Ameritrade (AMTD), and Yahoo (YHOO) among a multitude of companies releasing results.

Armour Residential REIT (ARR): The Real Estate Investment Trust is resumed with a Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette.

Boston Properties (BSX): Morgan Stanley starts the stock at Overweight.

Five Oaks Investment (OAKS): OAKS is initiated with an Equal Weight by Barclays.

Gildan Activewear (GIL): GIL gets picked up with a Hold at Desjardins.

Halcon Resources (HK): Raymond James covers the company at Outperform.

MarineMax (HZO): SunTrust Robinson Humphrey has a Buy on HZO.

Marin Software (MRIN): The stock gets assigned a Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Microsoft (MSFT): Better news this morning for the Dow (^DJI) member, downgraded twice in recent weeks. Today it is begun with a bullish Overweight at Morgan Stanley. Shares are, according, up more than 1% as I write.

Retailers: UBS begins Buys on both Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), a key Dow component that hit the highest level in its history yesterday even on an awful day in equities overall, and Costco (NASDAQ:COST). It has a new Neutral on Target (NYSE:TGT), which is falling before the bell having issued an earnings warning earlier this morning.

Rockville Financial (RCKB): Sterne Agee resumes the Savings & Loan outfit at a Neutral.

Stericycle (SRCL): Jefferies starts Buy rated research on SRCL.

Tile Shop Holdings (TTS): Shares are set a Hold recommendation at Stifel.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Hollywood Ending for DreamWorks Animation and Stock Downgrades: Strayer Education Sent to Back of Class.)
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