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Stock Downgrades: Halloween Mask? It's Facebook That Frightens People

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

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Ahead of Halloween, Wall Street's spirits were subdued. (Although distiller Brown Forman (NYSE:BF.B), which has always been more about Jack Daniel's than Jack-o'-lanterns, did levitate to the highest level in its history. A feat also achieved by Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ:SAVE)) The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) index snapped a recent record-breaking run, although some stocks did come in from the cold. NQ Mobile (NYSE:NQ) jumped 11.26%, rather muddying the waters after it fell 47% only last week. Meanwhile Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) surged, then slumped, then rose again after releasing results, which will be news to its own 47%. While Beantown was beating the Cards, pride of St. Louis Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) dropped 1.05%. (Okay, they are now based in Belgium, but work with me.) Adding insult to injury for the Show Me State, Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM) took its 12-month increase to an astonishing 134.23%. Elsewhere, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) was sued, and Western Union (NYSE:WU), which was the Twitter of its era ("HOW OLD CARY GRANT?" To which the actor pithily replied "OLD CARY GRANT FINE. HOW YOU?") tumbled 12.42% on a rating reduction.

It's another full day for third quarter earnings announcements, with American International Group (NYSE:AIG), BNP Paribas (OTCMKTS:BNPQY), Clorox (NYSE:CLX), Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA), Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Sony (NYSE:SNE), and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), all expected to release results.

Boardwalk Pipeline (BWP): Shares get downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Covance (NYSE:CVD): Raymond James reduces its rating to Outperform from Strong Buy.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): Shares, which also scored an analyst upgrade this morning, are moved to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets. (Thus far this morning, the upgrade appears to be carrying more clout, with the stock up before the bell.)

Fluor (NYSE:FLR): The stock is now Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.

Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN): The navigation name is now Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

Iberdrola (OTCMKTS:IBDRY): Société Générale slashes the Spanish energy outfit, on a good recent run, to Hold from Buy.

Kraft Foods (NASDAQ:KRFT): KRFT is cut to Hold from Buy at Canaccord.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:LGND): Shares are lowered to Hold from Buy at Brean Capital.

Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT): The toy maker is taken to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

NICE Systems (NASDAQ:NICE): NICE is now Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays, which takes its target to $35 from $40.

Sealed Air (NYSE:SEE): The Bubble Wrap owner is now Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA): SODA is slashed to Sell from Hold at Stifel.

Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY): Citing a steep valuation, TD Securities takes the commodity company to Hold from Buy.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Casella Waste Turns Trash Into Cash and Stock Upgrades: This Halloween, Sink Your Teeth Into Chuy's)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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