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Stock Downgrades: Diageo Cries Into Its Guinness


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

Compared with what happened exactly half a decade earlier, when the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) wrapped up the most hellish month in its entire history, yesterday's triple-digit gain was manna from Heaven. (Pennies from Heaven? Not so much, after J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) plunged 8.27% to a lifetime low.) Playtex owner Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI), whose legendary Wonderbra ad will take some topping at Sunday's Super Bowl, gained 11.40% to a historic best but, cross your heart, can it tell when you are in love? "'If I Had a Hammer?' Well, what's stopping you? Go to the hardware store; they're about a buck-ninety, tops." James Lileks, clearly no fan of folksy Pete Seeger, once wrote that about the icon who died the other day. Had he lived 72 more hours, he would have learned thieves in midtown Manhattan used said tool to rob Cartier of $700,000 worth of watches. No matter; its corporate owner Compagnie Financiere Richemont (VTX:CFR) still nailed it with a 1.68% advance. And who says variety is the spice of life? Spice stock McCormick (NYSE:MKC) was downgraded for the first time in 17 years, way back when the Spice Girls were big.

Today in economics, we get the University of Michigan's final figure for January consumer confidence at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Autoliv (NYSE:ALV), Chevron (NYSE:CVC), Honda (NYSE:HMC), MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT), National-Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV), Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), and Weyerhaeuser (NYSE:WY) are all due to release results.

ADT Corp (NYSE:ADT): Yesterday was indeed an alarming session for this home security stock, whose 16.95% slide to a historic low made it easily the S&P 500's (INDEXSP:.INX) poorest performer. The news is no better today, for shares are taken to Hold from Buy at Stifel amid excessive uncertainty about its investment thesis.

ADTRAN (NASDAQ:ADTN): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Akzo Nobel (OTCMKTS:AKZOY): BNP Paribas cuts the company to Neutral from Outperform.

Capstead Mortgage (NYSE:CMO): Citing a steep valuation, Keefe Bruyette moves the stock to Market Perform from Outperform.

Carbo Ceramics (NYSE:CRR): The stock gets downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Guggenheim.

Chefs' Warehouse (NASDAQ:CHEF): Canaccord Genuity gives the equity a Hold-from-Buy rating reduction.

Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB): Shares are tumbling about 2% in today's European trading after getting downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

Diageo (NYSE:DEO): They say you don't buy beer, you rent it, but you probably don't want to do either with stock in this owner of Guinness. The company, which also makes Johnnie Walker and Ketel One, fell 5.19% yesterday in its worst such showing since February 2011. Today it is tumbling another 2.42% in London after getting taken to Neutral from Conviction Buy at Goldman Sachs. "There are no meaningful signs of a [developed markets] recovery for Diageo, and with competitive intensity picking up in US vodka, we see a risk that DM growth deteriorates from here," its analysts wrote in a note.

TIBCO Software (NASDAQ:TIBX): Barclays takes the tech name to Underweight from Equal Weight.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Headwaters Will Keep Its Head Above, Well, You Know

Stock Upgrades: Are You Ready for Some Baseball? Hillshire Brands Hits It Out of the Ballpark
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