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Stock Downgrades: Default Lies With Dassault


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

From the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María to the three stooges in half a millennium is a funny sort of progress, but equities did end up on Columbus Day after the unholy trinity of McConnell, Reid, and Boehner all expressed optimism that our debt ceiling debacle will soon be resolved. Incidentally, us owing money is absolutely nothing new. After all, the man who discovered the New World was America's first pawn star, his journey famously financed by Queen Isabella's decision to loan out her crown jewels. Elizabeth Taylor, owner of eight wedding rings, was likewise legendary for her love of jewels, and a hedge fund heavyweight now finds himself reduced to selling off Andy Warhol's rendering of the Oscar-winning actress to stay afloat.

As Detroit-born Robert Shiller won a Nobel Prize in economics worth $1.2 million, his hometown - back in bankruptcy court - sure could use the money. Elsewhere an unloved Coach Inc. (NYSE:COH), founded in 1941, fell 0.86%, as the man who invented the phrase "axis of evil" reminded us on Twitter that our politicians were an even greater disgrace in that fateful year than they are now.

There isn't any top-tier economic data due today, but third-quarter earnings season starts in earnest with Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Mosaic (NYSE:MOS), and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) all due to report results.

Atlas Pipeline Partners (NYSE:APL): Robert W. Baird lowers the limited partnership to Neutral from Outperform due to an increasingly uncertain earnings outlook. Its price objective, previously $43, is now $38.

Dassault Systems (OTCMKTS:DASTY): The French design software firm, which tumbled 10.53% yesterday on an earnings miss, is today taken to Underweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.

Diebold (NYSE:DBD): Compass Point slashes the maker of Automatic Teller Machines to Sell from Neutral.

Nationstar Mortgage (NYSE:NSM): Wells Fargo moves the stock to Market Perform from Outperform.

Superior Energy (NYSE:SPN): The stock gets reduced to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital.

Teradata (NYSE:TDC): Shares, slumping some 16% before the bell, are now Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee.

Transocean (NYSE:RIG): Argus lowers the oil services stock to Hold from Buy.

TMS International (NYSE:TMS): TMS is taken to Perform from Strong Buy at Raymond James.

Veeco Instruments (NASDAQ:VECO): Oppenheimer cuts the equity to Perform from Outperform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Advance Auto Parts Hits a Pothole and Stock Upgrades: Xbox Marks the Sweet Spot for Microsoft.)
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