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New Stock Coverage: Warm Welcome for Hot Topic


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Stocks dropped, with the Dow (^DJI) snapping a three-session winning streak to finish with fractional declines amid anemic volume on a day dominated by Germanic overtones. While Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, whose father was of Teutonic descent, met with Berlin's Wolfgang Schäuble, a Deutsche Bank (DB) downgrade of JPMorgan (JPM) sent the latter tumbling 2.03%.

Not that the former can afford to indulge in any $10 words such as schadenfreude, having just this morning announced its Q2 pretax profit plunged 63%. Astonishingly, yesterday marked the ninth straight week in which blue chips have fallen on Monday. Sun days are scarcely any better, what with Suntech Power (STP) slumping 14.65% after admitting serious issues over German bonds it accepted as collateral. Deutsche Bank did at least exert a positive impact on Sprint (S), which continued its recent surge to add on another 4.64% after analysts at the financial firm took up their price target on the telecom stock.

This morning, the July Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index is out at 9:45 a.m. Eastern, and this month's consumer sentiment survey from the Conference Board arrives at 10:00 a.m. 16% of S&P 500 companies report earnings this week, with today's announcements expected to include Aetna (AET), BP Plc (BP), Discovery Communications (DISCA), Fiat (FIATY), Honda (HMC), Panasonic (PC), Pfizer (PFE), and Thomson Reuters (TRI).

Cable Companies: Jefferies has Holds on Cablevision (CVC) ($15 price objective), Charter Communications (CHTR) ($79), and Dish Network (DISH) ($31.) It begins Buys on Comcast (CMCSA) ($36), DirecTV (DTV) ($59), and Time Warner Cable (TWC) ($100.)

DFC Global (DLLR): Shares are covered at Outperform by Credit Suisse, whose target price is $23.

Exelon (EXC): The nuclear power play is picked up with an Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Hot Topic (HOTT): Shares are assigned a Positive recommendation, and $15 price target, at Susquehanna.

OmniVision (OVTI): Stephens starts coverage at Overweight.

On Assignment (ASGN): The stock is begun with a Buy at Deutsche Bank.

ReachLocal (RLOC): ThinkEquity rolls out Buy rated research, and a $15 target, on RLOC.

Tranzyme (TZYM): Cowen covers the company at Outperform.

Watsco (WSO): Lazard launches Neutral rated research on WSO.

Western Asset Mortgage (WMC): Shares are initiated with a Buy at Compass Point, whose target is $21. Catalysts include an increasing dividend and only modest share-price premium to book value.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Facebook Finally Finds a Friend and Stock Downgrades: Analyst Tires of Michelin.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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