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Stock Downgrades: Someone Just Put Bebe in a Corner

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

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When Greece is suddenly the world's best stock market, the Zombie Apocalypse has indeed arrived. (Especially on a day Europe released some seriously spooky unemployment figures.) Here comes money boo boo? Not exactly. The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) did drop on Halloween, but still scored impressive gains on the month. On the Day of the Dead, Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE:LYV) gained 2.42% and, not to be outdone, Walking Dead broadcaster AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) advanced 2.70%. Trick-or-treaters at your window were far less frightful than a knock on the door from an Avon (NYSE:AVP) lady. That stock, downgraded this morning, tumbled 21.87% yesterday. A broker boost sent Austin-based Chuy's Holdings (NASDAQ:CHUY) - where they know all about scary bats - up 1.81%. And an identical analyst upgrade saw Bug maker Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VLKAY) jump 2% to a fresh 52-week peak. See, Beetlejuice isn't so terrifying after all.

Today in economics, October's Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index is expected to slip from September's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Another frenzied week for quarterly earnings announcements concludes with results expected out of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG), Portland General Electric (NYSE:POR), Washington Post (NYSE:WPO), and Royal Bank of Scotland Group (NYSE:RBS).

Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP): Deutsche Bank downgrades the equity, recently trading atop historic highs, to Hold from Buy.

Air France (OTCMKTS:AFLYY): The aviation outfit Parisians know as "Air Chance" for its patchy on-time arrival record gets reduced to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse. It cites "further disappointment" in restructuring, and the stock is sharply lower in today's European trading as a result.

Alamos Gold (TSE:AGI): Shares, upgraded elsewhere this morning, are reduced to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

American International Group (NYSE:AIG): The insurance giant gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Drexel Hamilton.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA): Jefferies cuts the small cap company to Hold from Buy.

Avon Products (NYSE:AVP): The cosmetics company, which tumbled 21.87% on Thursday, is moved to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital this morning.

BMW Group (OTCMKTS:BAMXY): Equinet downgrades the German auto giant to Hold from Buy.

Bebe Stores, inc. (NASDAQ:BEBE): Hat tip to Patrick Swayze for today's title. Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Janney, which notes both anemic mall traffic and margin pressure.

Chart Industries (NASDAQ:GTLS): After yesterday's 10.87% tumble, the stock is now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Craft Brew Alliance (NASDAQ:BREW): Fresh from yesterday's 4.20% fall, Citigroup cuts the company to Neutral from Buy.

Hornbeck Offshore (NYSE:HOS): Wunderlich cuts the oil and gas outfit to Hold from Buy amid an influx of vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Its price objective, previously $70, gets trimmed to $61.

Monotype Imaging (NASDAQ:TYPE): JPMorgan takes TYPE to Neutral from Overweight.

Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO): NVO is now Neutral from Buy at Swedbank.

OpenTable (NASDAQ:OPEN): The stock gets downgraded to Hold with Wunderlich due to valuation concerns.

PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the stock to Neutral from Buy.

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A): Shares are slashed to Hold from Buy at Société Générale.

Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE): The Japanese consumer electronics behemoth, which just imploded 11.17% after releasing Q2 results, gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA): A day late and $9.84 short? After yesterday's 19.98% nose-dive, Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Underweight from Equal-Weight.

Taubman Centers (NYSE:TCO): Bank of America-Merrill reduces the retail Real Estate Investment Trust to Neutral from Buy.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX): Shares are lowered to Market Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein.

Weight Watchers (NYSE:WTW): Barclays downgrades the diet name, down 19.56% yesterday, to Equal Weight from, wouldn't you know it, "Overweight."

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Green Ink for Green Dot and Greenbrier and New Stock Coverage: Vestas Wind Systems Hype More Than Hot Air)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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