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Stock Upgrades: KAR Auction Catches a Bid

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Ho ho ho? More like ho-hum for the nation's retailers, whose disappointing festive sales helped send stocks lower for a fourth session in five. Investors told OfficeMax (OMX) to go Elf Itself after that stock was shorted to the tune of 2.79%. If, in Leona Helmsley's immortal line, "Only the little people pay taxes," that's more than our intermittent tax paying Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who spent the day sending a letter to Congress, little realizing that they are all on vacation.

Santa's stocking did nothing for the garter belts of Victoria's Secret owner Limited Brands (LTD), which lost 3.23%, and recipients of a lump of Kohl's (KSS) saw that stock drop 1.86% to a new low. Today in economics, November new home sales and December consumer confidence are each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Chemtura (CHMT): Longbow lifts the specialty chemicals company to Buy from Neutral. Shares are up 2.2% before the opening bell as a result.

Insurance Stocks: Brown & Brown (BRO) and Hartford Financial (HIG) are both added to the Select List of favored equities at Stifel Nicolaus.

KAR Auction Services (NYSE:KAR): Stephens upgrades the auto dealership to Overweight from Equal Weight amid improved industry fundamentals and an expectation for accelerating vehicle volumes in 2013. Its target price is also taken up, by $4 to $23.

Price Objective Increase: Oppenheimer's overall rating on Domino's Pizza (DPZ) remains unchanged, but its price objective is boosted to $50 from $44. Catalysts include easing sales comparisons and meaningful product innovation.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Connecticut Water Service Lacking Liquid Assets? and Stock Downgrades: Marvell Left With Massive Chip on Its Shoulder.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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