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Stock Downgrades: Raspberries for Research In Motion

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

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On a day the FDA attempted to regulate sleep medications, Wall Street offered up its own antidote to insomnia. Dow Industrials (^DJI) edged up all of 0.60%, although mattresses maker Tempur-Pedic (TPX) jumped 2.77% to exempt itself from the overall malaise. A heavy hitter who grew up in Queens was nominated for Treasury Secretary. No, not that one; after all, why opt for a person who has always worked in business for the position when a grizzled government veteran is readily available? Online résumé poster LinkedIn (LNKD) jumped 3.85% on bullish analyst comments at Crédit Agricole and Pepsi (PEP) spokeswoman Beyoncé also able to accent-uate the positive after rival Coca-Cola (KO) incurred a ratings reduction. Drinking, as well as investing, in soda apparently makes us depressed although in the singer's case, a cool $50 million should somewhat soften the blow.

Today's economic data includes the December federal budget at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, Infosys (INFY) and Wells Fargo (WFC) have each already announced results this morning.

3M Company (MMM): JPMorgan cuts the Dow (^DJI) member to Underweight from Neutral.

Aéropostale (ARO): Piper Jaffray cuts the apparel outfit to Neutral from Overweight against a backdrop of limited visibility and execution concerns. Its price objective is reduced to $13 from $15.

Bazaarvoice (BV): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform with a $9 price objective at BMO Capital Markets, whose concerns include a CEO departure and billings growth deceleration.

Beazer Homes (BZH): The residential outfit gets reduced to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

BHP Billiton (BHP): Macquarie moves the commodity company to Neutral from Outperform.

Corning (GLW): Goldman Sachs downgrades the glass-maker to Neutral from Buy on account of a LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) inventory correction. Its price objective is $14.

Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS): The soda stock gets downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein, which also trims its target price by $1 to $40. Secular headwinds from health and wellness trends are cited.

easyJet (PINK: ESYJY) UBS lowers the budget British airline to Neutral from Buy.

Electronic Arts (EA): Troubled by both weak holiday sales and an overall lack of catalysts, Piper Jaffray reduces its recommendation to Neutral from Overweight. The target price is now $14, down from $18 previously.

Food Stocks: Campbell Soup (CPB) is cut to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman Sachs amid cost concerns. General Mills (GIS) gets slashed to Sell from Neutral with a $40 target due to product cycle issues, and J.M. Smucker (SJM) is now Neutral from Buy with a $93 objective on account of its steep relative valuation.

JC Penney (JCP): Another ratings reduction for the troubled retailer, which is today slashed to Sell from Neutral at UBS.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM): BMO Capital cuts the tech titan to Underperform from Perform, reducing its price objective to $9 from $12 in the process. Issues include a belief that the new BlackBerry 10 will fail to stem market share loss, even as existing products are pressured Android at the lower end. The equity is trading down before the opening bell today.

Quiksilver (ZQK): Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Tenneco (TEN): Goldman takes TEN off its list of Conviction Buys.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN): The casino company gets cut to Outperform from Buy at Crédit Agricole.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Saying Yes to Nokia and New Stock Coverage: Good Things on Tap at Molson Coors.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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