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New Stock Coverage: Quick Bucks in Fast Food


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Shares slid for a sixth straight session and, since this is already the third Friday the 13th of a year the Mayans assured us would be our last, investors everywhere can be excused for a severe case of paraskevidekatriaphobia. (If you'll forgive a $10 word we can ill afford in this market.)

There's a sudden job opening at American Idol but the ranks of America's idle actually fell to their lowest level since March 2008, as defined by initial weekly unemployment claims. Nonetheless, several noted names turned more bearish. Warren Buffett, who made his $34 billion "all-in wager" on the US economy what seems like just yesterday, adopted a much more subdued tone. And strategists at Bank of America (BAC), whose Merrill Lynch unit has long prided itself on being "bullish on America," cut their S&P 500 (^GSPC) earnings forecasts by 1.4% for 2012 and - assuming the Mayans were off with their own predictions - 2013.

This morning in economics, the University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment survey for July is expected to tick up slightly at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are each already out with results.

Albemarle (ALB): Shares are initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Application Software: (CRM), Ellie Mae Inc (ELLI), and Caldus Software (CALD) are all started with Buys at ThinkEquity, which has a new Hold on NetSuite (N).

Biotechs: Corcept Therapeutics (CORT) is initiated at an Underperform at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, which picks up Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR) at a Buy.

Chemtura (CHMT): The stock is covered at Overweight at Piper.

Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD): Shares are begun with a Buy at ThinkEquity.

Fast Food Sector: Keybanc begins Buy rated coverage on Brinker International (EAT) ($40 price objective), Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL) ($75), Jack in the Box (JACK) ($40), Panera Bread (PNRA) ($175), Papa John's (PZZA) ($58), and Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) ($24.) It has Holds on BJ Restaurants (BJRI), Bob Evans Farms (BOBE), Bravo Brio Restaurant Group (BBRG), Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), Darden Restaurants (DRI), Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB),Tim Hortons (THI), and Wendy's (WEN).

General Growth Properties (GGP): GGP gets initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

Google (GOOG): The Internet search giant is a new Neutral with Wedbush.

HeartWare (HTWR): Goldman Sachs starts Neutral rated research on HTWR.

Hillshire Brands (HSH): The recent Sara Lee spin-off is a new Outperform at Sanford Bernstein, whose target price is $35.

JetBlue Airways (JBLU): Shares are up before the opening bell on an Outperform initiation at Imperial Capital.

JDS Uniphase (JDSU): The stock is a new Hold at Needham, which has concerns over slowing business conditions.

Melco Crown Entertainment (MPEL): Janney Montgomery Scott begins with a Buy.

PVH Corp (PVH): The clothing company, formerly known as Phillips-Van Heusen, is begun with a Buy at Lazard.

VeriFone (PAY): Shares are a new Neutral at Compass Point, whose target is $38. Foreign currency headwinds are a near-term issue.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Dean Foods Cries Over Spilled Milk and Stock Upgrades: Bet the House on KB Home?)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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