Wow, that wasn't a day for the faint of heart. US stock markets
rose to such dizzying heights that even hedge-fund-heavy
Michael Steinberg felt obligated to feel a little
in lower Manhattan. In a neat touch, his afternoon courtroom
conviction dovetailed almost exactly with the
S&P 500 Index
(INDEXSP:.INX), each ending at record highs as swooning investors
fell hard for equities. On a day when two men with white beards
in ceding center stage to Santa -
you will be much missed, Mr. Mossberg
- it was Ben Bernanke whose words carried the most weight. In
addition to "taper light," shareholders were encouraged by more
robust economic data. This included a 22.7% surge in housing
starts, their biggest monthly jump since January 1990. That was the
30,000 Muscovites braved freezing pre-dawn
) opened right next to Red Square. Ah, for those warm and fuzzy
final days of the Cold War, when there still was a Soviet Union.
That scenario is surely preferable to the Draconian state of
affairs Putin's goons are currently inflicting upon the populace.
(In)famous isolationist Henry
) would have beat a hasty retreat from Moscow, and yesterday, amid
all the ebullience elsewhere, the car company cratered 6.29% on
more European angst. The "devil's metal," which slumped 8.4% last
month, further earned its moniker in December as
Pan American Silver
) slipped 0.72% even as it received an
. And lottery talk dominated the day. No, not
. Rather, one recently held by our Canadian cousins. Its winner
just announced he
will give away the entire $37 million jackpot
Warren Buffett, that's a day's pay
In terms of economic events that may move US markets today,
December's Philadelphia Fed Index, along with last month's leading
indicators and existing home sales, all arrive at 10:00 a.m.
Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements
(AAL): Stock in American Airlines, which just reorganized after a
merger, is a new Neutral at UBS.
(AXP): SunTrust has a Buy on American Express stock. American
Express is an important member of the Dow.
(BBRY): Beleaguered BlackBerry, whose stock has recently traded to
ten-year troughs, is a new Neutral at JP Morgan.
(BPL): RBC Capital launches the limited partnership at a Sector
Perform. Its price objective is $72 on a stock it says has
impressive exposure to crude oil logistics.
(CHTP): Shares are an Outperform at JMP Securities.
(GME): Benchmark Company has a Hold, and $38.55 target price, on
(GNMK): Shares get begun with a Buy at Needham.
(PVH): The clothing company long known as Phillips-Van Heusen is
begun with a Buy and $150 target at Janney.
(RL): Ralph Lauren, which, in addition to its eponymous Polo label,
also owns Chaps and Club Monaco, is a new Buy at Janney. Its stock
price target is $200. Catalysts include an impressive international
Software Security Stocks
: BMO Capital Markets covers
(CUDA) at Outperform but is marginally less upbeat on Market
Check Point Software
(LUV): Shares are assigned a Buy at UBS.
: Dual Dow members
(VZ) are each begun with Buys at Jefferies.
(TIF): Stephens starts the bling king at Equal Weight.
Stock Upgrades: Callaway Golf Fit for a
Stock Downgrades: Run From JPMorgan Chase