Mitt Romney can afford a wry chuckle. A country of over 300 million people created a measly 74,000 jobs last month, or the exact number that his 2012 nemesis couldn’t even fill at a stadium
as Election Day neared. The breakup of Lehman Brothers may now be but a bad nightmare — these days, it's the breakup of the Allman Brothers
that hogs headlines — but the economy still remains stubbornly sluggish. Breaking up was not too hard to do in a terrible telecom tape, with AT&T Inc.
(NYSE:T) dropping a Dow
(INDEXDJX:.DJI)-worst 3.4% as it heard only static on the line. Among workers aged 45 to 54, the labor force participation rate plunged to the lowest level since 1988. That was the year Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” ruled the radio, and equities, which barely budged even after the dire data, seemed to be taking his message to heart. The overall participation rate, meanwhile, matched a rate last seen in February 1978. That month the top song in America was “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. Indeed; Mark Zuckerberg, although he always looks dressed for a funeral
these days, saw Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) surge 6.2%. And Abercrombie & Fitch
(NYSE:ANF), which long ago lost its shirt
, jumped 13.42%. Let’s hope shareholders didn’t ride the subway
, or we really would have a wardrobe malfunction.
There aren’t any top-tier economic announcements to move US stock markets today. On the earnings front, agribusiness outfit Limoneira
(NASDAQ:LMNR) missed Wall Street’s earnings expectations when it released results earlier this morning.
(NYSE:ABX): Canaccord slashes the commodity company to Sell from Hold.
(NASDAQ:BBRY): BlackBerry stock is now Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer, whose concerns include market share slippage and uncertain turnaround prospects at the erstwhile tech titan.
(NYSE:SCHW): Crédit Agricole downgrades the discount broker to Underperform from Outperform.
(NASDAQ:CREE): Citing a steep valuation among other issues, Stifel takes the stock to Hold from Buy.
El Paso Electric
(NYSE:EE): Goldman Sachs gives the utility a Sell-from-Neutral downgrade.
(NYSE:FTI): Shares are now Neutral from Strong Buy at ISI Group.
(NYSE:IHG): Jefferies cuts the company to Underperform from Hold.
(NYSE:OII): The stock gets downgraded to Neutral from Strong Buy at ISI Group.
(NASDAQ:PSMI): Deutsche Bank reduces its rating to Hold from Buy.
(NASDAQ:SFLY): SFLY is slashed to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays. (Note that the stock was separately assigned an upbeat Outperform rating in new research at RBC Capital this morning.)
(NASDAQ:SBUX): Starbucks stock is slipping as we speak after getting cut to Hold from Buy at Belus Capital Advisors. Its price objective, previously $90, is now $75.
(NASDAQ:SYMC): Shares are trading lower ahead of the open after getting moved to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley, whose concerns include range-bound revenue prospects.
(NASDAQ:TIVO): Hard to believe, but it’s been ten years since the famous Janet-Justin faux pas
that put time-shifting TV titan TiVo Inc. on the map. Alas, there is no turning back time to the firm’s glory days today, as its stock is taken to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.
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