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New Stock Coverage: Don't Charge Into American Express


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Getting admirably into the spirit of National Relaxation Day, stocks were so laid back as to be almost horizontal, finishing essentially flat on another session of anemic August volume. The Dow's (^DJI) 55-point trading range was its second tightest of 2012 but some stocks stood out amid all the desultory action. Aeropostale (ARO) increased 3.02%, although superstitious sorts will note its shirts unwittingly honor one of the worst years in the history of Wall Street. Campbell Soup (CPB) flirted with a fresh 52-week peak, continuing a run kicked off on Monday after Goldman Sachs (GS) named it a "Conviction Buy." The bank's ex CEO Jon Corzine now likely won't face jail time, but still probably regrets the power of his prior convictions in an infamous ad. Starch food firm Diamond Foods (DMND), purveyor of potato chips, advanced 3.68% but far healthier to stick with a high-fiber optic diet after JDS Uniphase (JDSU) gained 8.24%.

This morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, analysts expect August's Philadelphia Fed Index to improve over the previous month's pace. A retail-heavy session in corporate earnings includes announcements out of Aeropostale (ARO), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Gap Inc (GPS), Ross Stores (ROST), Sears (SHLD), and Wal-Mart (WMT).

American Express (AXP): The charge card company, a key Dow component and strong performer yesterday, is rated no better than Neutral at Janney Capital this morning.

Annie's (BNNY): Shares are a Hold at Stifel Nicolaus.

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL): Shares are begun with a Buy at Aegis Capital, which assigns it a price objective of $37. Near-term prospects for Xiaflex are seen as favorable given the sales trajectory for the drug in the US.

BioSpecifics Technologies (BSTC): The stock is begun with a Buy and $50 target price at Aegis Capital.

Burger King (BWK): Barclays begins Equal Weight coverage on BWK.

C&J Energy Services (CJES): Shares are initiated with a Buy at Global Hunter.

Exploration and Production: Imperial Capital launches coverage of the sector, its Outperforms including Cimarex Energy (XEC), Energen (EGN, Oasis Petroleum (OAS), Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD), and Rosetta Resources (ROSE). Among the in-lines are Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) and Rex Energy (REXX).

Insmed (INSM): Shares are up sharply this morning after being initiated with a Buy at ThinkEquity.

LMI Aerospace (LMIA): The stock is an Outperform at Imperial Capital.

MSCI Inc (MSCI): The financial information provider is a new Market Perform at William Blair.

Rails: Canadian Natl Railway (CNI) is initiated with a Top Pick at FirstEnergy Capital, which rates Canadian Pacific (CP) an Outperform.

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI): Shares are initiated with a Buy at WallachBeth.

Saratoga Resources (SARA): The small cap is covered with a Buy at C.K. Cooper.

Trucking Stocks: Arkansas Best (ABFS) and Con-way (CNW) are each launched at Neutral by Longbow.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Finish Line Starts the Morning Off Right and Stock Downgrades: Another Bad Day at the Office for Staples.)

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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