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New Stock Coverage: Which Fertilizer Stocks Pass the Smell Test?

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

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Stocks staggered to a split decision for a fourth straight session, which really is no way to honor Muhammad Ali on this his 71st birthday. Debt ceiling deadlock kept a lid on equities, although Apple Inc. (AAPL) snapped a three day skid and is now batting over $500 again. The stock fell 3.15% twenty-four hours earlier, perilously close to Pi, but Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster soon played pied piper on its shares, encouraging investors and indeed other analysts in saying the Cupertino company would sell 50 million iPhones during the December quarter.

US Airways (LCC) endured a similarly torrid Tuesday, tumbling 2.45% after getting downgraded at JPMorgan (JPM), and on the fourth anniversary of its fabled Miracle on the Hudson. Shares snapped back 2.24% yesterday, but Jamie Dimon will be flying coach after his salary was slashed by 50%. The London Whale thus shares a bonus pool with copious crocodile tears, since he still earned a cool $11.5 million. Send some Crocs (CROX) stock his way, especially after the footwear firm nosedived 9.68%.

Today in economics, the Philadelphia Fed Index for January is expected to cool off from the previous month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. The cavalcade of quarterly earnings announcements continues, with American Express (AXP), ASML Holding (ASML), BB&T Corporation (BBT), Bank of America (BAC), BlackRock (BLK), Capital One Financial (COF), Citigroup (C), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), and Intel (INTC) all due to release results.

Alkermes (ALKS): Credit Suisse covers the company at a Neutral.

Approach Resources (AREX): Shares are assigned an In-line at Imperial Capital, whose price objective is $28.

Armstrong World Industries (AWI): The floorboard maker is a new Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Concho Resources (CXO): Imperial covers CXO at an Outperform with a $105 target price, heartened by both its low-cost structure and good growth opportunities.

Eli Lilly (LLY): The drug-maker is launched with a Sell at Crédit Agricole, whose objective is $47.

Fertilizer Stocks: Credit Suisse assigns lukewarm Neutrals on CF Industries (NYSE:CF), Intrepid Potash (NYSE:IPI), and Mosaic (NYSE:MOS). It is more upbeat on Agrium (NYSE:AGU) and Potash (NYSE:POT), each rated Outperform.

Monsanto (MON): The seed stock is an Outperform at Credit Suisse, whose target is $120.

Newmont Mining (NEM): NEM is a new Buy at BB&T Capital. Its price objective is $52.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals (VNDA): JMP Securities starts the small cap at Outperform.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Boeing About to Crash and Stock Upgrades: CBS Eyes Huge Gains.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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