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Stock Downgrades: Goldman Sachs Tells Citigroup to Get Out of Town

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

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That much-mooted Santa Claus rally may be for suckers amid increasing indications that the Federal Reserve, which turns 100 two days before Christmas, is about to go all Ebenezer on us. (Disney's (NYSE:DIS) downgraded Scrooge McDuck also deserves a measure of blame for the Dow's (INDEXDJX:.DJI) third straight drop, after it ended off 1.42%.) As US stock markets continued to cool off, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) - thrice on fire of late - surged 16.53% and Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) - which recently set The City of Light ablaze - advanced 5.79% to top the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX). An analyst upgrade sent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) up another 2.74%, and on Apple Pie Day. Other sweet teeth fared less well, with Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD) leading NYSE laggards after tumbling 20.20%. Twenty-twenty foresight could have told you ObamaCare could never fill the doughnut hole.

In terms of economic events that may move US markets today, September and October new-home sales, along with the Institute for Supply Management's November services index, are each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. For its part, the Federal Open Market Committee releases its Beige Book detailing regional financial conditions in a dozen districts at 2:00 p.m. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements out of Aéropostale (NYSE:ARO), Bob Evans Farms (NASDAQ:BOBE), Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.B), Express Inc. (NYSE:EXPR), G-III Apparel (NASDAQ:GIII), Guess Inc. (NYSE:GES), Mattress Firm Holding (NASDAQ:MFRM), New York & Co. (NYSE:NWY), and Synopsys (NASDAQ:SNPS).

Accenture (NYSE:ACN): The consulting company is cut to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley, whose concerns include Information Technology infrastructure demand.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T): Telecom titan AT&T Inc. sees its stock slashed to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, which is troubled by heightened competition in the wireless segment. Shares are lower as a result today.

Bank of Kentucky (NASDAQ:BKYF): Shares are reduced to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird amid valuation issues.

Citigroup (NYSE:C): Goldman Sachs slashes the stock of its fellow financial firm Citigroup quite considerably, to Neutral from a prior rating of not just Buy but Conviction Buy.

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY): eBay Inc. was upgraded only on Monday but today its stock suffers a downgrade, to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore.

Flextronics (NASDAQ:FLEX): Amid the firm's relatively high exposure to the consumer sector, shares get downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman.

Reckitt Benckiser (OTCMKTS:RBGPY): The maker of Durex condoms and Lysol cleaners is lower in London today after UBS slashed it to Sell from Buy.

Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST): ROST is reduced to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Signature Bank (NASDAQ:SBNY): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Guggenheim, whose target goes to $109 from $112.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal Weight from Overweight.

Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI): TRI is taken to Reduce from Neutral at Nomura.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Time Warner Cable, Despised by an English Knight, Has a Great Day and Stock Upgrades: Oh, What a Beautiful Morning for Oklahoma's Own Sonic Corporation)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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