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Stock Downgrades: Omnicom and Publicis Fall to Earth Faster Than Don Draper

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

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Advertising giants Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC) and Publicis Groupe (OTCMKTS:PUBGY) each now know the feeling of being a Mad Man falling back down to Earth. Both stocks get downgraded today after their proposed $35 billion transatlantic merger spectacularly unraveled late last week amid an irreparable culture clash.
 
Don't get me wrong - I enjoy bearded Austrian ladies just as much as the next lad. But I can't help but feel that the Eurovision Song Contest missed a beat this weekend by awarding its ultimate honor to Vienna's own Rise Like A Phoenix. Surely a cover version of the 1981 winner, Making Your Mind Up, would have been far more fitting. If only to get the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), which has now vacillated between gains and losses for ten straight weeks, to finally do so. Even as Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) finished Friday at an historic high, the benchmark bourse completed its most indecisive streak for two decades. Maybe I'm being too cruel on our continental cousins. After all, Poland's milkmaid entry did evidently inspire Whitewave Foods (NYSE:WWAV), maker of coffee creamers and dairy products, to a 7.47% surge. Elsewhere Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) imploded 8.4% as Marissa Mayer's 41 shades of blue didn't go with Alibaba's 40 thieves. A giant advertising merger was dramatically called off, but should they have given it a little longer? Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), whose $1.17 billion tie-up with OfficeMax was born in embarrassing confusion, just jumped 23.29%. And the bafflingly-named Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ) combined with one D.E Master Blenders 1753 (OTCMKTS:DEMBF) to create a company called Jacobs Douwe Egberts. Those Madison Avenue branding experts, I tell ya. Whatever will they think of next.
 
It's quite a quiet day in economic data but Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ:RDEN), McKesson (NYSE:MCK), and Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) are all due to release quarterly results.
 
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features the broadcaster of Mad Men, plus headline stocks Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe.
 
AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX): On a truly dire day for both fictional and factual Don Drapers, the Mad Men broadcaster gets cut to Market Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein.
 
Apollo Global (NYSE:APO): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.
 
Barclays (NYSE:BCS): What happened over the weekend to this British bank beloved on Friday? This morning it's slashed to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $280 target price at RBC Capital, which has concerns over revenues.
 
Deere (NYSE:DE): DE gets downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Longbow.
 
NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) Raymond James reduces its rating to Market Perform from Outperform.
 
Omnicom Group: Shares are now Neutral from Conviction Buy at Goldman.
 
Publicis Groupe: Goldman simultaneously pulls Publicis from its Conviction Buy list.
 
Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL): The stock, which tumbled 2.09% on Friday after announcing earnings, gets lowered to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
 
SABMiller (OTCMKTS:SBMRY): Macquarie moves the brewing behemoth to Neutral from Outperform.
 
Also see:

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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