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Stock Downgrades: K12 Still Has Lots to Learn


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock lost another 3.5% and, much like its latest camera, has now shrunk 25% from prior peaks. The cult Cupertino company is now down for eight straight weeks, its worst spell since the fall of 2000. That was when Dell Inc.'s (DELL) stoner dude made his debut; alas his stock options are now up in smoke, after it slid 5.9% to a new three year low. Microsoft (MSFT) imploded 8.01% in posting the Dow's (^DJI) worst showing, with executive Steven Sinofsky jumping out of Windows to be replaced by Julie Larson-Green, whose first job will be to arrest share-price red ink. And every Devil Dog will have its day. Ruckus Wireless (RKUS) and its canine companion slumped 18.33% following its IPO on Friday, at about the same time Hostess filed for bankruptcy.

This morning in economics, October existing home sales are expected to come in essentially unchanged at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Agilent (A), Bob Evans Farms (BOBE), Brocade (BRCD), Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL), Dycom Industries (DY), Jack in the Box (JACK), Lowe's (LOW), New Jersey Resources (NJR), Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHU), Tyson Foods (TSN), and Urban Outfitters (URBN) are all due to report results.

AK Steel (AKS): Longbow lowers the commodity company, trading at new nine-year lows, to Neutral from Buy due to concerns that difficult global markets will weigh on pricing and volumes.

Cepheid (CPHD): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, whose price target is $32.

Diamond Foods (DMND): DMND gets downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies due to a lack of earnings visibility.

K12 Inc. (NYSE:LRN): The educational services outfit is moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo, whose concerns include performance and control issues at one of the company's schools, Colorado Virtual Academy. The price objective range is also cut, to $18-$22 from $34-$37.

Laboratory Corp. of America (LH): LH gets slashed to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs amid reimbursement pressures.

Pennant Investment (PNNT): Robert W. Baird reduces its rating to Neutral from Outperform, and trims its price objective by $1 to $11, amid a sluggish earnings and dividend backdrop.

Retail Opportunity Investments (ROIC): Shares are downgraded to Underperform at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

VF Corp. (VFC): The name is now Neutral from Buy at DA Davidson.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Baker Flowers Foods Rolling in Dough and New Stock Coverage: Recommending Starwood Hotels Without Reservations.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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