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New Stock Coverage: Spider in the Shower? You Won't Take a Bath in Facebook

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

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You know the winter blues -- or Big Blues, in the case of an unloved International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) -- have arrived in earnest when the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) has its steepest drop since the last day of summer, and the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) slumps to its lowest level since the final day of fall. US markets moved lower after Atlanta Fed head Dennis Lockhart implied that the central bank will start "dialing back" its monetary morphine at, of all places, the Rotary Club. (Get it, kids? If not, ask gramps to explain.) It was a day that called for either men in white coats or a good stiff drink, and neither Merck (NYSE:MRK) - up 6.50% to a six-year best - nor Beam Inc (NYSE:BEAM), which jumped 25.56% to an all-time high, disappointed. The alcohol outfit was bought for $16 billion by Suntory, pride of Tokyo. This despite the Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) being closed for Coming of Age Day, which celebrates all those about to turn 20. (Don't you have to be 21 to drink in this country? Perhaps something was Lost In Translation. At a hefty 20 times cash flow, the deal may indeed have been.) Bill Ackman, whose Pershing Square made $342.5 million on the transaction, was even happier than Bill Murray. Indeed it was hip to be square all around on Monday. Well, sort of. Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN), home of the square hamburger, surged 6.40%. Alas, Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) dropped 2.20% as its co-founder Charlie Ergen found himself under attack over Lightsquared. And square-eyed definitely wasn't the way to go as a disowned TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) tumbled 4.82%. Time was, it owned the must-have device for the blingy Sex and the City quartet. But times have changed and we now operate in a more austere age, when the quartet du jour aren't the Manolo Blahnik-donning Carrie & Co, but a fearsome foursome of broke Brooklyn bench-dwellers.

In terms of economic events that may move US stock markets today, consensus calls for November 2013 business inventories to contract from the prior month's pace when they are announced at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) got quarterly earnings season underway for the big banks with their releases of results.

American Express (NYSE:AXP): UBS starts Neutral-rated research on the stock of American Express, a key Dow component.

Capital One (NYSE:COF): Shares are begun with a Buy, again at UBS.

Comstock (NYSE:CRK): Imperial Capital covers the company with an Outperform opinion and $20 target price.

EMC Corp (NYSE:EMC): The tech name is a new Neutral at Macquarie.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): As long as you stay out of Mark Zuckerberg's arachnid-infested shower, you should do just fine in Facebook. Today the stock is assigned a bullish Outperform at FBN Securities.

KNOT Offshore Partners (NYSE:KNOP): Citing the company's stable cash flow among other favorable factors, RBC Capital launches the limited partnership at Outperform. Its price objective is $31.

Navigator Holdings (NVGS): NVGS is a new Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX): FBN Securities has a fresh Outperform on Netflix, which was the top S&P 500 stock of 2013.

Red Hat (NYSE:RHT): Red Hat stock is initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities

3D Printing Stocks: RBC Capital Markets establishes upbeat Outperforms on Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), assigning respective objectives of $175 and $118. (Note that Stratasys shares are slumping some 3.67% as we speak after it issued iffy earnings guidance for fiscal 2014.)

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR): Twitter stock is started at a Sector Perform by FBN Securities.

See also:

Stock Upgrades: Marissa Mayer Puts Yahoo Back in Vogue

Stock Downgrades: Microsoft Isn't Built Ford Tough
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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