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Stock Downgrades: Cisco Systems on Route to Ruin

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

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Stocks gave us another standing ovation, as investors bet big ahead of the Fed Vice Chair's appearance in the hot seat. (Regardless of what Janet Yellen says today, her furniture will surely prove far better value for the money than Francis Bacon's $142,405,000 version. And Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) - up 3.03% on the day - was sheer bliss in flying by the seat of its yoga pants.) US markets rose yet again, with the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) each reaching fresh records. Who needs Singles' Day when Macy's (NYSE:M), 111 years young, saw its stock surge 9.39%? Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) jumped 3.04% to a fresh 52-week peak as Marissa Mayer auctioned off domain name sandwich.com. On a day shares of hoagie hero Potbelly (NASDAQ:PBPB) posted an après-earnings 9.31% increase, her timing was impeccable. Alas, Mayo didn't pass muster with Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which must regard his negativity on the name as a bunch of baloney after its stock advanced 2.32%.

In terms of events that may move US markets this morning, as mentioned, the confirmation hearing for Janet Yellen to head the Fed commences at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements out of Agilent (NYSE:A), Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT), Burberry (OTCMKTS:BURBY), Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP), Kohl's Corp (NYSE:KSS), Manchester United (NYSE:MANU), Merck KGaA (OTCMKTS:MKGAY), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), Tyco (NYSE:TYC), Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB), Vivendi (OTCMKTS:VIVHY), and Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT).

Affiliated Managers Group (NYSE:AMG): Goldman Sachs takes its fellow financial name to Neutral from Buy.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO): Cisco Systems, a key Dow component that makes Internet routers and switches, gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank. Stock in Cisco Systems is currently imploding about 11% after disappointing quarterly results that revealed concerns regarding China, among other issues.

E.ON AG (OTCMKTS:EONGY): The German utility outfit is cut to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

Henkel (OTCMKTS:HENKY): Société Générale slashes the German glue and adhesives giant, recently trading atop historic highs, to Hold from Buy.

Hercules Technology (NYSE:HTGC): Shares are now Hold from Buy at Wunderlich, whose amended price objective is $18. The brokerage sees constrained potential upside from current levels.

Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU): Wow, that was quick. Lululemon Athletica stock rose just 3.03% on a broker boost, but this may be a downward-dog day for the yoga-apparel outfit. This as Sterne Agee lowers Lululemon Athletica to Underperform from Neutral.

Netease.com (NTES): Netease.com is now Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank, Yesterday, stock in Chinese Internet outfit Netease.com gained 3.44%, but shares are tumbling some 10% before today's opening bell.

Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN): JPMorgan moves the casino company to Neutral from Overweight.

Telefônica Brasil (NYSE:VIV): The telecom stock gets taken to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Tesco Plc (OTCMKTS:TSCDY): Goldman slashes the British grocer to Sell from Neutral.

WhiteHorse Finance (NASDAQ:WHF): Citing a risk/reward ratio that is now roughly in balance, Robert W. Baird reduces its rating to Neutral from Buy. Its price target is also trimmed, by $1 to $15.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Mattress Firm Holding Set to Sleep With the Fishes? and Stock Upgrades: Sony Shows Why It's Good to Be George Clooney)
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