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Stock Downgrades: Search Party Makes Grim Discovery at Google

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL On the day Newsweek announced it is getting out of the print business, how R.R. Donnelley (RRD) must have wished it could do the same. Morgan Stanley (MS) slid 3.79% on iffy earnings but its soccer mom madam must surely have been impressed with those enterprising Greeks, where a fútbol team is now sponsored by a brothel.

Harry Winston Diamond (HWD) dropped 4.51%, unable to compete with a rival jewelers' Buy a Wedding Ring, Get a Free Gun offer that began yesterday. And another EU crisis summit meeting concludes today, trying to succeed where the previous 21 have failed. (Based on the appalling behavior at 21-and-under soccer game in Serbia earlier this week, the future for European harmony ain't, alas, all that bright.) Other events include September existing home sales, with economists expecting a slight slippage at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

The first full week of earnings season comes to a close with General Electric (GE), Honeywell (HON), and McDonald's (MCD) among a host of heavy hitters due to report results.

Ann Inc. (ANN): The clothing company formerly known as AnnTaylor is cut to Neutral from Buy at Nomura due to valuation concerns.

Athenahealth (ATHN): Shares are downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies after weaker than expected Q3 results.

Barclays (BCS): Canaccord cuts the British bank to Hold from Buy.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG): Shares, tumbling 12% ahead of the open, are now Neutral from Outperform with Wedbush, which has lowered confidence it will institute a near-term price increase to offset inflationary headwinds.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Compass Point.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG): The Internet search giant, yesterday's poorest performing S&P 500 (^GSPC) stock, gets cut by both Oppenheimer (Perform from Outperform, with the target taken to $765 to $800) and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (Neutral from Buy). Mobile device sales are weighing on margins. Merrill cites Google's "sloppy" earnings update in reducing its rating from Buy for the first time since 2006.

Janus Capital (JNS): Shares gets downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan as fund performance remains under pressure. The target is $9.50.

Lloyds Banking Group (LYG): The British financial firm is now Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Northrop Grumman (NOC): NOC is now Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

Orient Express Hotels (OEH): Shares, a stellar performer yesterday, is now Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Remy Cointreau (REMYF): The spirits maker is slashed to Sell from Hold at Société Générale.

Snap-On Inc. (SNA): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital, whose price objective is intact at $81.

Tech Stocks: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Marvell (MRVL), and NVIDIA (NVDA) are all now Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Verizon Hears Money Talking and New Stock Coverage: Getting a Kick Out of Manchester United.)
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