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Stock Downgrades: Amazon Is Sleepless in Seattle

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

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Rain City's Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), tumbling some 3.01% as we speak, yesterday missed Wall Street's estimates for operating income. Profit continues to prove stubbornly elusive, but this morning's Wall Street Journal ("Amazon, in Threat to UPS, Tries Its Own Deliveries") reveals once again that Jeff Bezos is forever restless in Seattle, searching for new ideas at every opportunity.
 
On Take Your Child To Work Day, the kids could have been forgiven for asking, "What, exactly, do you do all day, daddy?" Wall Street, whose day doesn't start until 9:30 a.m. and is over at 4:00 p.m. (talk about bankers' hours), did precisely nothing yesterday. This, as the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) ended exactly unchanged for the first time since December 24, 2001. Thursday's Child thus does indeed have "far to go" to match his or her much more precocious Tuesday sibling. In the best Sesame Street tradition, yesterday's action was brought to you by the letters A-Z. Beloved Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) -- a longtime classroom favorite -- advanced 8.20% to a 2014 high, and orthopedic outfit Zimmer (NYSE:ZMH) jumped an S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)-best 11.50%. In the words of the iconic childhood tune, "Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone. Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone..."
 
Today in economics, the University of Michigan's final figure for April consumer confidence is expected to show a slight uptick at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, Ford (NYSE:F), Moody's (NYSE:MCO), and Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) all released results earlier.
 
Now let's turn to this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features fitness and financial firms plus Amazon.com.

Aetna (NYSE:AET): With shares no longer going for a song after Thursday's 5.88% surge, Citigroup takes the insurance outfit to Neutral from Buy.
 
Amazon.com: Raymond James reduces its rating to Outperform from Strong Buy.
 
Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI): The tech stock is now Neutral from Buy at Citi.
 
British American Tobacco (NYSEMKT:BTI): The cigarette stock gets slashed to Hold from Buy at Renaissance Capital.
 
Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM): After the company reported a revenue decline, Needham cuts it to Hold from Buy. Shares are, accordingly, slumping this morning.
 
Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB): Shares are moved to Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets.
 
General Motors (NYSE:GM): The car company gets cut to Hold from Buy at Craig Hallum. Its amended price objective is $37.
 
Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ:LAMR): LAMR is lowered to Neutral from Outperform with Wedbush.
 
Landstar System (NASDAQ:LSTR): LSTR is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.
 
Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM): The gym giant's Iranian CEO, who has quite a temper, may be about to go ballistic again after his stock was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.
 
Unilever (NYSE:UN): The owner of Dove and Lipton gets downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: BP, Once Public Enemy Number One, No Longer Sleeps With the Fishes

Stock Upgrades: No Matter Whom Tiger Dates, Accenture Is Out of the Woods
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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