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Stock Downgrades: Electronic Arts Not a Pretty Picture


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL At the end of a week in which Europe went mysteriously unmentioned at a presidential foreign policy debate, while northern Mali got several shout-outs, the continent's economic crisis continued to hit home hard.

Ford (F) disclosed it will lose $1.5 billion while cutting 5,700 jobs and closing three plants in Britain and Belgium. Madrid this morning announced its unemployment rate just rose to a record 25%, so any sense of humor they still have is likely to be of the gallows variety.

Hopefully Spain will see the funny side in Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) sliding 3.81% on negative analyst comments, and on the birthday of Pablo Picasso, pioneer of Cubist painting. As if that wasn't insult enough, a CEO who once put his elbow through one of the artist's most priceless works saw his Wynn Resorts (WYNN) surge 7.25% on a bullish research recommendation.

Today in economics, at 9:55 a.m. Eastern we get the University of Michigan's final figure for October consumer confidence. A frenzied week for quarterly earnings announcements comes to a close with China Life Insurance (LFC), Comcast (CMCSA), Ericsson (ERIC), First Solar (FSLR), Legg Mason (LM), Merck (MRK), Moody's (MCO), NTT Docomo (DCM), Petrobras (PBR), Statoil (STO), and Weyerhaeuser (WY) all due to report results.

AstraZeneca (AZN): The pharmaceutical firm gets taken to Neutral from Buy at Swedbank.

BJ Restaurants (BJRI): Shares are downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair.

Cabela's (CAB): CAB is cut to Neutral from Buy at Piper Jaffray.

Caterpillar (CAT): The Dow (^DJI) component is removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.

Constant Contact (CTCT): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham amid increased uncertainty surrounding underlying trends including its core email offering.

Dean Foods (DF): DF gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.

Deckers Outdoor (DECK): The footwear firm, whose shares are falling 14.1% in pre-market trading today, gets downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA): Saying the video game giant is suffering from a slow product year, Pacific Crest cuts its rating to Sector Perform from Outperform.

France Telecom (FTE): FTE is taken to Neutral from Buy at Nomura.

Franklin Resources (BEN): The money manager is downgraded to Equal-Weight from Overweight with Morgan Stanley.

Freescale Semiconductor (FSL): FSL is lowered to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

M/I Homes (MHO): MHO gets moved to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY): The equity is now Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie after a reduced production outlook. The target is also taken down, to $91 from $137.

Plexus (PLXS): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Royal Caribbean (RCL): The cruise company gets cut to Hold from Buy at Topeka Capital.

Royal KPN (KKPNY): The Dutch tech stock gets slashed to Sell at Goldman Sachs.

St. Jude Medical (STJ): Credit Suisse moves the medical device maker to Neutral from Buy.

Spirit AeroSystems (SPR): Shares, fresh from yesterday's slump, are now Neutral from Outperform amid additional risk to earnings estimates. The price target is also cut, to $17.50 from $30.

Starwood Hotels (HOT): HOT is lowered to Neutral from Buy at Lazard Capital amid citing slowing industry per-room revenue.

UQM Technologies (UQM): The small cap name is now Hold from Buy at Needham after disappointing quarterly results.

West Coast Bancorp (WCBO): Keefe Bruyette cuts the company to Market Perform from Outperform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Black Diamond Looks Like a Gem and Stock Upgrades: Expedia Is Going Places.)
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