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New Stock Coverage: Whole Foods Offers Investors a Free Lunch


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

Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) stock no longer costs quite your "Whole Paycheck" after a 40% peak-to-trough tumble. Today the gourmet grocer gets boosted by a broker who cites an increasingly compelling valuation, the prospect of solid 5% same-store-sales growth and an attractive ROIC (return on invested capital.)
On the morning of June 5, 1944, all eyes were on Europe. On the morning of June 5, 2014, all eyes are on Europe. But for storm clouds causing a 24-hour delay, this would have been D-Day. Seven decades on, the world again held its breath awaiting developments in the Old World. This time, the corner of downtown New Amsterdam occupied by Wall Street watchfully waited out a critical European Central Bank announcement. As it was, the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) still managed to set its 16th historic high of 2014 even amid anemic trading volume. It did so despite more dire economic data. This included a revised first-quarter read on productivity that plunged by the most in more than half a decade. Stop the insanity. The numbers are clearly more Art than science, for imports unexpectedly surged and exports, well, yada yada yada. In Elaine's aforementioned Seinfeld clip, she claims Mr. Vandelay imports chips. Apparently of the potato variety, but the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (INDEXNASDAQ:SOX) did just surge for a 10th straight session. With all eyes on Tiananmen, Beijing-based NQ Mobile (NYSE:NQ) surged 30.93% to easily best all NYSE issues. It finished at $9.99 even as its neighbor Alibaba aimed for straight eightsTiffany (NYSE:TIF), on a stunning recent run, touched $100 for the first time ever to hit its highest since an IPO in 1987. Gary Hart got up to some Monkey Business aboard a boat that year but don't dare malign monkeys. Especially as we just learned anew that they are infinitely better investors than any of Wall Street's self-appointed "experts." The blindfolded, dart-throwing ape was introduced by Burton Malkiel in his iconic A Random Walk Down Wall Street. Another of the industry's touchstone tomes wondered aloud Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Trust me, these days you don't want to know.
Today's quarterly earnings announcements include Ciena Corp (NYSE:CIEN), Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND), J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM), Joy Global (NYSE:JOY), Vail Resorts (NYSE:VAIL), and Verifone Systems (NYSE:PAY).

Now let's turn to this morning's new stock coverage, a list that includes a retailing giant in addition to Whole Foods Market.

Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE:BAH): Cowen covers the consulting company at Market Perform.
Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE:BBW): Shares are assigned an Overweight at Piper Jaffray.
Cardtronics (NASDAQ:CATM): The stock is picked up at Outperform with Wells Fargo.
Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS): Wedbush has a new Neutral on the clothing company. Its price objective is $44.
Hi-Crush Partners (NYSE:HCLP): The limited partnership gets launched at a Buy by Jefferies, whose target price is $59.
National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV): NOV is a new Outperform at Credit Suisse.
SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE:SEAS): Longbow starts SEAS at a Neutral.
Vector Group (NYSE:VGR): Shares are established with an Outperform opinion and $25 objective at Oppenheimer, which hails the company's executive team and ongoing attempts to unleash shareholder value.
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT): The key Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) component, which again topped the Fortune 500 this week, is begun with a Sell by Belus Capital.
Whole Foods Market: Imperial Capital assigns an upbeat Outperform on today's headline analyst initiation. Its price target is $48.

Also see:

Stock Upgrades: Nothing but Net Profit Makes Microsoft a Sterling Success

Stock Downgrades: As Obama Pumps Iron, Life Time Fitness Losses Luster
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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