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Stock Downgrades: Silver Screens Are a Lead Balloon for Regal Entertainment


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Mr. Smith went to Washington and Mr. Jones (^DJI) liked what he heard. The Dow rose for a second straight session after FedEx (FDX) head Fred Smith expressed "cautious optimism" that our fiscal cliff crisis can be resolved. Apple (AAPL) snapped back from a slump 24 hours earlier, as Tim Cook gave his first television interview since Steve Jobs succumbed to pancreatic cancer. A fund raiser for pancreatic cancer preposterously attracted protesting unions at Cablevision (CVC), even as its stock rose 2.61% on an upbeat analyst assessment.

A similarly bullish research recommendation sent Starbucks (SBUX) surging 5.73% to a fresh five-month high. The coffee company may finally pay its fair share of taxes in the land of tea. This as tax titan H&R Block (HRB), which itself occasionally forgets what it owes the IRS, gained 5.12% after announcing impressive Q2 earnings.

Harry Winston Diamond (HWD) is out with quarterly earnings this morning, while the day's economic data includes December's University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index at 9:55 a.m. Eastern and October consumer credit at 3:00 p.m.

Avalonbay Communities (AVB): Cantor Fitzgerald reduces the residential REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) to Hold from Buy and takes its target price to $142 from $157. Slowing growth is cited.

Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRLI): Shares are now Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie after its Q4 earnings miss. The price objective is $25.

DragonWave (DRWI): DRWI gets downgraded to Hold from Speculative Buy at Canaccord amid likely soft carrier spending levels.

GDF Suez (PINK:GDFZY) Shares are lower in Europe today after HSBC Securities slashed the stock to Underweight from Neutral.

Gulfport Energy (GPOR): GPOR gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus amid issues over its valuation.

Marks & Spencer (PINK:MAKSY) The British retailer is lower in London after getting cut at Goldman Sachs to Sell from Neutral.

Novartis (NVS): Morgan Stanley moves the drug stock to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

Overland Storage (OVRL): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital.

Prudential (PRU): The firm gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Sandler O'Neill.

Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC) Shares in the cinema operator are sliding before the opening bell on a downgrade to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray. Concerns include the potential for box office trends to weaken in December. The target is $16.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD): TD gets taken to Sector Perform from Outperform at Scotia Capital.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: McDonald's Critics Take a Ribbing and New Stock Coverage: Fast Money Chases JPMorgan.)
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