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New Stock Coverage: Ignite Restaurant on Fire


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Stocks dropped, selling off into the close on above-average trading volume amid sluggish retail sales here at home and a widening wall of worry across the Atlantic. Moody's slashed Spain's credit rating to Baa3 and Egan-Jones Ratings took it to CCC+, the country's unappetizing alphabet soup arising from it having kicked the can once too often. This morning Madrid's 10-year yields spiked above the ominous 7% level for the first time ever but on the bright side, as of today the nation's biggest bank will no longer have the world's most embarrassing stock symbol. (Far too late, alas, to prevent contagion.)

JPMorgan's (JPM) Jamie Dimon went to Washington in mea culpa mode and declared, "The buck stops with me," his math off by about $2 billion. The CEO, who earns $23 million annually, indicated salary claw backs, including perhaps his own, may be forthcoming following the bank's enormous trading loss. This on a day that most Americans said they would be quite happy with $70,000 a year. Mr. Dimon recently railed against the gigantic wages that journalists command yet he has himself demonstrated their way with words. Alliteration specifically; yesterday he called the missing money an "isolated incident," having previously referred to it as a "tempest in teapot." Certainly, the teapot was calling the kettle black when the chief executive on whose watch $2 billion vanished into thin air turned to Congress and implored of the country, "We have to get our fiscal act in order."

Today's earnings announcements are expected to include Kroger (KR), Lakeland Industries (LAKE), Pier 1 Imports (PIR), School Specialty (SCHS), Smithfield Foods (SFD), and Winnebago Industries (WGO).

Apricus Biosciences (APRI): Shares are initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities.

EV Energy (EVEP): The stock is a new Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX): Maxim Group begins Buy rated coverage and assigns a price objective of $11. They say the next data set, SVR4 (2H-2012), could be a positive catalyst for the stock.

Ignite Restaurant (IRG): Shares are begun with a Buy recommendation and $22 target price at KeyBanc Capital and an Outperform at Raymond James. Its Joe's Crab Shacks offer attractive unit economics to support 10% annual unit growth for several years.

Immunogen (IMGN): Shares are a new Hold at Cantor Fitzgerald, whose target is $15.

Tesla Motors (TSLA): Lazard launches Buy rated research on TSLA.

Ventrus Biosciences (VTUS): Shares are begun with a Buy and $30 objective at Brean Murray.

Xenoport (XNPT): The company is initiated with an Outperform with Wells Fargo.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Nike Set to Regain Spring in its Step and Stock Downgrades: Adobe About to Flash Crash?)
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