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Stock Downgrades: Bank of America No Longer Such a Steal

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

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Musical chairs? Citigroup (NYSE:C), whose CEO famously said "As long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance" even as the storm clouds gathered, surged some 6.8%. This, in a week when banks hit levels not seen since before the financial crisis as our new Fed chair boosted the sector by hinting an earlier-than-expected interest rate increase. With the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) enjoying its best week in a month, phone shares posted easily the best performance of all 10 industry groups. AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T) alone advanced 5.6% as it became ever more apparent President Obama would love to rotary dial back his Mitt debate diss, for time has not been at all kind to his debate pronouncement that, "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years." Avis (NASDAQ:CAR) jumped 6.5% to finish at a historic high on Friday, something for President Putin to ponder along with the classic line a propos of all occupying powers, namely that, "In the history of the world no one has ever washed a rented car." And Orchids Paper Products (NYSEMKT:TIS) imploded 18% amid an investigation into its incentive practices. That the company makes paper napkins will be especially tough for one Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MSstockbroker to stomach.
 
There aren't any top-tier domestic economic data or earnings announcements due today, but China Petroleum & Chemical (NYSE:SNP) did release its results overnight.
 
American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP): Jefferies cuts the company to Hold from Buy.
 
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC): Last week an ex-Bank of America employee was put in prison for pilfering $2.1 million. Alas, her stock is no longer such a steal after a remarkable recent run, and Atlantic Equities downgrades it to Neutral from Overweight as a result.
 
Gartner (NYSE:IT): Shares get taken to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.
 
Lin Media (NYSE:LIN): The stock, which surged 22.48% on Friday after being bought for $2.6 billion by Media General (NYSE:MEG), is no longer trading on fundamentals. Accordingly, Wedbush lowers its rating to Neutral from Outperform.
 
Loews Corporation (NYSE:L): Deutsche Bank downgrades the firm -- not to be confused with Lowe's Companies (NYSE:LOW) -- to Hold from Buy.
 
Manitowoc (NYSE:MTW): MTW gets lowered to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies, sending it off 1.04% today.
 
NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Underweight from Equal Weight.
 
Tiffany (NYSE:TIF): The company, fresh from Friday's earnings announcement, is pulled from Goldman Sachs' list of Conviction Buys.
 
Wet Seal (NASDAQ:WTSL): B. Riley slashes the shares to Sell from Neutral.
 
Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION): The only one of 30 banks to fail the Fed's stress test is now Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets.

Also see:

Stock Upgrades: Symantec Stops the Bleeding

New Stock Coverage: Descartes Systems Can Afford to Be Philosophical
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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