Stock Downgrades: JC Penney Not Worth a Dime?

By Justin Sharon  JAN 09, 2013 9:22 AM

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


January 8 has a happy history in equities — it was on that date in 1987 that the Dow Average (^DJI) first finished above 2,000 — but yesterday's market action won’t be recalled as fondly after equities fell for the third time in four sessions. Verizon (VZ) — its stock as underwater as its headquarters were after Superstorm Sandy — was the second poorest performer among blue chips with a 2.43% tumble, but even it had to take a backseat to beleaguered Boeing's (BA) 2.63% slide. Meanwhile the 3:10 to Yuma was stuck in the tracks after that southwest Arizona city again posted America’s worst unemployment rate of 27.5%. Investors would thus be best advised to bypass both planes and trains and instead take a Coach (COH), which bucked a bad tape to gain 3.06%. Those who assure us flying is safer than at any time since the dawn of the jet age apparently didn’t account for the turbulence that investing in Boeing would involve. Similarly, scientists who say video games are good for you obviously never owned a single share of GameStop (GME), whose 6.30% slide lead the S&P 500 (^GSPC) lower.

It’s another dull day in economic data but Alcoa (AA) unofficially ushered in an upcoming earnings avalanche when it announced yesterday after the close. AZZ incorporated (AZZ), Constellation Brands (STZ), Helen of Troy (HELE), Ruby Tuesday (RT), Texas Industries (TXI), and VOXX International (VOXX) are all due to report results today.
Apollo Group (APOL): APOL gets downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at First Analysis.
Bank of America (BAC): The recently surging Dow (^DJI) component is lower before today’s opening bell on a Neutral-from-Outperform cut at Credit Suisse.
BJ Restaurants (BJRI): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal-Weight from Overweight.
CNOOC Ltd (CEO): Mizuho moves the Chinese energy giant to Neutral from Buy.
Diebold (DBD): The equity is slashed to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
Hawaiian Holdings (HA): Shares are lowered an unusual 180 degrees, to Underperform from Buy, at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
Health Management (HMA): The stock is reduced to Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.
IntercontinentalExchange (ICE): ICE is now Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (PINK: LVMUY): The luxury firm is lowered to Neutral from Buy at Credit Suisse.
McDonald’s (MCD) The blue chip is moved Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James, sending shares lower ahead of the open.
Monsanto (MON): Shares are taken to Hold from Buy at Miller Tabak.
NetSpend (NTSP): NTSP gets slashed to Sell from Hold at Goldman Sachs.
RetailersJC Penney (NYSE:JCP) and Macy’s (NYSE:M) are each moved to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie, which cuts Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) to Underperform from Neutral.
Western Union (WU): Goldman gives the money wiring outfit a Sell-from-Neutral downgrade.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Ralph Lauren Dressed for Success and New Stock Coverage: No Keeping Amazon Out of the News.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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