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Stock Downgrades: Lady Luck Leaving Las Vegas Sands


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL On the second day of trading after Sandy, Bank of America (BAC), based in North Carolina - where the Banks, Outer and otherwise, know all about hurricanes - bested all blue chips with a 4.51% rise. Fellow Dow (^DJI) member Walt Disney (DIS), which declined 1.92% on Wednesday, bounced back with a 1.34% gain as investors reassessed its $4.04 billion Star Wars purchase. (Hey, with pay phones and gas lines all the rage again, it makes sense those other '70s icons Luke and Leia should also suddenly be back in fashion.)

Viagra maker Pfizer (PFE) suffered an apparently incurable case of ED (Earnings Delay). Its results, postponed by 48 hours due to the storm, were seen as unimpressive and sent its stock slumping 1.29% on an otherwise stellar session in equities.

Today in economics, analysts expect an improvement in September factory orders at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Another peak earnings week comes to a close with Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), Chesapeake Energy (CHK), Chevron Corporation (CVX), Madison Square Garden (MSG), and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and Washington Post (WPO) all due to release results.

Active Network (ACTV): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

ArcelorMittal (MT): The steel stock is now Neutral from Buy at Natixis Bleichroeder.

Barrick Gold (ABX): Shares are downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital due to lowered guidance.

Berry Petroleum (BRY): The stock is downgraded to Hold from Buy with Wunderlich, which takes its target to $40 from $49 following earnings.

BG Group (BRGYY): Shares get downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Boston Beer (SAM): Crédit Agricole moves the stock to Outperform from Strong Buy.

Exelon (EXC): EXC is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Fiat (FIATY): The Italian car company gets cut to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

First Solar (FSLR): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Cantor Fitzgerald, as questions remain on how profitable new projects will be.

Fluor (FLR): FLR is now Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, whose price objective is lowered to $62.

Guess? (GES) Jefferies downgrades the denim giant to Hold from Buy.

Glu Mobile (GLUU): Piper Jaffray moves the stock to Neutral from Buy.

Greenbrier (GBX): GBX gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee.

Hercules Technology Growth Capital (HTGC): Shares are downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird.

Iridium Communications (IRDM): Shares are downgraded to Fair Value from Buy at CRT Capital due to the weak earnings guidance.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS): The casino company gets lowered to Hold from Buy at Cantor Fitzgerald, citing growth challenges in Singapore. The target is taken to $46 from $50.

Lifepoint Hospitals (LPNT): Amid results that have underperfomed its industry, shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Mueller Water (MWA): MWA is moved to Hold from Buy at Brean Murray.

Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD): Canaccord Genuity cuts the company to Hold from Buy.

Spirit AeroSystems (SPR): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform at Cowen.

Swift Energy (SFY): Shares are downgraded to Accumulate from Buy at Global Hunter.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX): The stock gets slashed to Sell from Hold at Goldman Sachs.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Starbucks Still Making Big Bucks and New Stock Coverage: Deckers Outdoor Up Off the Floor.)
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