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Stock Downgrades: US Steel More Clark Kent Than Superman


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Apple Inc. (AAPL) imploded 8.89% en route to its worst week since May 2010. On 9/21 - in retrospect, the official start of the fall in more ways than one - the stock stood at an all-time high of $705.07, since when it has cooled off an astonishing 24.4%. In the elegiac formulation of The Fantasticks, "Deep in December, it's nice to remember the fire of September."

Elsewhere Netflix (NFLX) jumped 5.2% on a deal with Walt Disney (DIS) to show content that includes classic fare like Dumbo, a creature who famously never forgets. One wonders what he would think of a Canadian coffee entrepreneur charging$500 for a brew made by plucking java beans from elephant dung. That's a little rich even for Starbucks (SBUX), which itself advanced 3.4% amid news of a $400 gift card.

Europe's top stock last week, with a 15.1% surge, was EADS (PINK:EADSY), which was recently thwarted it its attempt to become the planet's largest maker of deadly ammunition. Something to ponder this morning as the continent which gave us the Battle of the Somme and among other horrors picks up the Nobel peace prize.

No top-tier economic data due today, but earnings announcements are expected out of ABM Industries (ABM), Cubic Corporation (CUB), Enzo Biochem (ENZ), John Wiley & Sons (JW-A), Landauer Inc. (LDR), Scholastic (SCHL), Teavana (TEA), and Winnebago Industries (WGO).

Advertising Agencies: Citing negative revenue momentum for the ad agency sector, Deutsche Bank downgrades Omnicom (OMC) ($52 price objective) and WPP Group (WPPGY) to Hold from Buy. It slashes Publicis Groupe (PINK:PUBGY) to Sell from Hold.

Apache Corp. (APA): APA is now Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, which cuts its price objective to $102 from $113. Concerns include increasing tensions in Egypt.

CME Group (CME): The exchange operator gets slashed to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Fibria Celulose (FBR): Shares are now Sell from Neutral at Citigroup.

GrafTech (GTI): GTI gets taken to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

McGraw-Hill (MHP): Lazard Capital cuts the S&P Ratings owner, up 6.6% last week, to Neutral from Buy.

Noble Energy (NBL): The stock, upgraded elsewhere today, is now Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee. (PCLN): Shares in the online-travel agency are falling before the opening bell after getting downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

United States Steel (NYSE:X): The commodity company gets cut to Underperform from Neutral at Longbow after checks that indicate flat-to-lower demand. The target is $17.

Zogenix (ZGNX): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus after the FDA Advisory Committee for Zohydro ER voted against approval.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Best Buy a Tough Sell and Stock Upgrades: TripAdvisor Stock Heading North.)
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