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New Stock Coverage: Legg Mason on Last Legs?


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL That 11-year-old kid who just successfully boarded a flight from Britain to Italy without a passport, ticket, or boarding pass certainly deserves credit for ingenuity. But one wonders why on Earth anyone would want to flee a country that sensibly opted against joining the euro for one at the epicenter of the continent's current crisis.

A widening wall of worry, originating in the Mediterranean but ultimately extending to some dismally disappointing earnings here at home, sent the Dow (^DJI) down by triple digits for a third straight day, something that hasn't happened since September. Denial is a river that has relocated from Egypt to Europe, with the EU denying the IMF will pull the plug on Greek aid, even as Madrid this morning denied a newspaper report that Germany is insisting Spain accept a $363 billion bailout package.

Today in economics, analysts expect an increase in June new home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. It's Hump Day of another frenzied week for Q2 earnings announcements, with ArcelorMittal (MT), Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT), Daimler (DDAIF), Ford (F), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Nintendo (NTDOY), RadioShack (RSH), and Visa (V) all due to report results.

Builders Firstsource (BLDR): The small cap is initiated with an In-line at Imperial Capital, whose price objective is $4.25.

ConAgra (CAG): Shares are initiated with a Buy at KeyBanc Capital, whose target price is $30. Catalysts include exposure to the faster growing Private Label and International markets.

Financials: Legg Mason (LM) is initiated with a Sector Perform at RBC Capital, which assigns Outperforms on Invesco (IVZ), BlackRock (BLK), and T. Rowe Price (TROW). It has a fresh Underperform on Federated Investors (FII).

Jive Software (JIVE): Lazard Capital launches Neutral rated coverage on JIVE.

Ralcorp Holdings (RAH): Shares are initiated with a Hold at KeyBanc Capital.

SciClone Pharmaceuticals (SCLN): The stock is initiated with a Buy at Aegis Capital, whose target is $12.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Rotten Day for Apple and Stock Upgrades: Domino's Not Dropping Anytime Soon.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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