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Stock Downgrades: Yum Brands Banished From the Menu

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Several retail shares sank as Mother Nature mauled Father Christmas, with Hurricane Sandy causing November same store sales to slump at many chains even as shoppers bought big ahead of the Yuletide. There is a lump of Kohl's (KSS) in Santa's stocking for anyone who foolish enough to invest in a stock that just imploded 11.98%, while seasonal Miracles on 34th Street were nowhere to be found at Macy's (M), which fell 4.31%. Industry rival Limited Brands (LTD) bucked the sector's bad day, however. The Victoria's Secret lingerie owner advanced 1.56%, thereby proving it pays to be both a lover and a fighter.

Today in economics, analysts project a slight uptick in November's Chicago Purchasing Managers Index at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, results are expected out of Genesco (GCO), Star Bulk Carriers (SBLK), United Natural Foods (UNFI), and WhiteWave Foods (WWAV).

Brown-Forman (BF.B): The Jack Daniels owner gets slashed Sell from Neutral with a $65 price objective at Goldman Sachs, which cites the risk of an earnings miss in Q2.

KingFisher (KGFHY): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY): RY is reduced to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Stanley Black & Decker (SWK): The tool titan is taken to Neutral from Buy at Longbow amid a lack of catalysts and near-term growth challenges.

Tiffany (TIF): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers TIF to Neutral from Buy.

Volvo (VOLVY): The Swedish car company gets cut to Underweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.

Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM): The owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell - whose stock traded an all-time high yesterday - is slumping before the bell on poor China sales and is cut to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James, to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna, and to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Slim Jim Owner ConAgra Poised to Plump Up and New Stock Coverage: Viagra Maker Pfizer Boosted by Love and Other Drugs.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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