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New Stock Coverage: Sluggish Start for Finish Line


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL On July 19, 2007 impressive earnings from International Business Machines (IBM) propelled the Dow Average (^DJI) above 14,000 for the first time ever. Fast-forward exactly half a decade and Big Blue's equally stellar results sent blue chips up for a third straight session, even if their closing level of 12,943.36 remains a lot less lofty.

Shares shrugged off tepid economic data here at home to end at their highest since the start of May, boosted by news that the German parliament had approved a $122.9 billion bailout for Spain's banks. (Though that was before Berlin learned it may owe a tiny town 450 years' worth of interest on a loan it made in medieval times.) Apple (AAPL) advanced 1.33%, a multi-month peak for the firm rescued from bankruptcy in 1997 by Microsoft (MSFT). Alas the intervening years have been less kind to the latter, which posted its first loss since going public in 1986. Yesterday's IPO du jour was Five Below (FIVE), which surged 55.88% to top the Nasdaq (^IXIC) even as America bakes at temperatures of 100 above.

No top-tier economic data due today but the first full week of Q2 earnings season concludes with American Electric Power (AEP), Baker Hughes (BHI), General Electric (GE), Ingersoll-Rand (IR), SunTrust (STI), and Xerox (XRX) expected to report results.

Athletic Apparel: Morgan Stanley starts Equal Weights on Finish Line (FINL) and Foot Locker (FL).

Coca-Cola Femsa (KOF): KOF is initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup, whose price objective is $134.

Commercial Metals (CMC): CMC is a new Hold at KeyBanc Capital.

Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD): Credit Suisse covers the company at Outperform.

Crocs (CROX): Shares are initiated with a Buy at CL King.

Frontline (FRO): Shares are a fresh Underperform at Imperial Capital, whose target price is $2.50.

Media & Entertainment: Liberty Media (LMCA) and Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) both get both begun with Buys at ISI Group.

Microsoft (MSFT): Shares are initiated with a Buy at Griffin Securities, whose target is $38.

Millennial Media (MM): ThinkEquity begins Buy rated research on MM.

Nxstage Medical (NXTM): Shares are a new Buy at ThinkEquity.

Northwest Pipe (NWPX): The stock is an Outperform at Boenning & Scattergood.

Raytheon (RTN): Lazard Capital launches Neutral rated coverage on RTN.

Hotel Stocks: Hyatt (H) and Intercontinental (IHG) are both new Buys at SunTrust, which has a new Neutral on Marriott (MAR).

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Ample Cash in eBay's Attic and Stock Downgrades: Chipotle Mexican Gets Grilled.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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