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Upgrades & Downgrades: Sun Sets on First Solar


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

When you pick a company called Cubist (CBST) to ring the opening bell on Pablo Picasso's birthday, don't be surprised to see equities endure a Blue Period. The Dow was definitely down in the dumps, stocks slumping to their worst showing for three weeks as equities emphatically ended a three-day winning streak to finish at session lows. Some iffy earnings and a slide in consumer confidence - to levels last seen at the March 2009 market low - didn't help, but the angst was really all about two movies, both of which we've seen before. If It's Tuesday This Must be Belgium investors concluded, as European finance ministers cancelled a scheduled confab in Brussels. And Wall Street witnessed another March of the Penguins, an echo chamber of after-the-fact analyst downgrades sending shares in Netflix (NFLX) tumbling 34.90%, the single worst showing on the S&P 500 from the firm founded in 1997. That same year of course saw Romy and Michele invent Post-its, with a modicum of assistance from 3M Co. (MMM.) The maker of surgical masks among much else slid 6.25% after reporting results, posting the Dow's poorest performance and itself dying a little death so soon after its products were used to mourn a dearly departed tech titan and cover up the stench emanating from a despised and decomposing dictator.

Winners on an otherwise dire day included Columbia Sportswear Company (COLM), which gained 3.59% with sales at its division encompassing Africa and Middle East jumping 51%. (Must be all those Gaddafi killing Bronx Bombers it counts among its customers.) And Sherwin-Williams (SHW) rose 1.92%; the bridge in Scotland that they have just finished perpetually painting after 120 years stands as an exquisite metaphor for Europe's endless exercise in economic futility. Today in economics, analysts expect a slight increase in September new home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Hump Day of peak week for third quarter reporting season rolls on with Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Boeing (BA), Corning (GLW), Ford Motor (F), Exelon (EXC), General Dyamics (GD), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Lockheed Martin (LMT), MeadWestvaco (MWV), Northrop Grumman (NOC), and Sprint Nextel (S) all due to announce earnings.


Nokia (NOK): The Finish telecom firm is initiated with a Outperform at Northland Securities, which assigns it a $10 target price. They believe the company is nearing an inflection point in both average selling price declines and gross margin degradation.

Health Care REIT (HCN): Barclays begins an Overweight on HCN.

CoStar Group (CSGP): The company is resumed with a Buy at Needham, which establishes a price objective of $70 on account of its leverage to a compelling product cycle, as well as the stabilization of commercial real-estate activity.

SM Energy (SM): SM is started at Overweight by Barclays.

Tudou (TUDO): Shares are initiated with a Outperform and $24 target at Oppenheimer, which notes that they are the second-largest online video company in China.


Netflix (NFLX): Shares get a much needed Buy-from-Hold hoist at Hudson Square Research. Also read Netflix: Double-Costanza Time After the Most Predictable Collapse of 2011.

TD Ameritrade (AMTD): Credit Agricole takes AMTD to Buy from Outperform.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN): REGN is raised to Market Perform from Underperform at Leerink Swann.

Albemarle (ALB): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch boosts ALB to Neutral from Underperform.

Valspar (VAL): VAL shares are up sharply ahead of the opening bell after being boosted to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.


New York Times (NYT): NYT is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Novartis AG (NVS): The Swiss pharmaceutical firm is downgraded to Neutral by BNP Paribas.

RadioShack (RSH): RSH gets its rating reduced to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, which also removes the firm from its list of Conviction Buys.

First Solar (FSLR): Shares are cut to Hold from Buy at Kaufman Brothers and Jefferies. The stock, down some 25% yesterday, has been extremely weak in recent months amid competition from China and the Solyndra scandal. Both brokers prefer to move to the sidelines, especially since CEO Rob Gillette has just announced his resignation effective immediately.

MetLife (MET): MET is moved to Neutral from Overweight at Atlantic Equities.

Human Genome Sciences (HGSI): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Brean Murray. For related content, see Exelixis Rises on Cancer Drug Study.

Celanese (CE): CE is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Tellabs (TLAB): JPMorgan takes TLAB to Underweight from Neutral.

Canadian Pacific (CP): CP is cut to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

C.H. Robinson (CHRW): Shares receive several downgrades this morning, including a Neutral-from-Outperform ratings reduction at broker Robert W. Baird, whose objective is cut by $8 to $76.

Autoliv (ALV): ALV is lowered to Hold from Buy at Keybanc.

DeVry (DV): The for-profit educator is downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

DTE Energy (DTE): DTE gets cut to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

MF Global (MF): Shares, down sharply yesterday, are moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette this morning.

Yingli Green Energy (YGE): YGE is now Neutral from Buy at brokerage Collins Stewart. (YOKU): Staying in China, the Internet stock down before the bell after being cut to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

ING Group (ING): The European financial firm is downgraded to Underperform from Neutral by BNP Paribas.

PolyOne (POL): The company is moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

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