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Stock Downgrades: Fair-Weather 'Friends' Flee Facebook

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

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On the day we said a sad goodbye to Tom Clancy (the esteemed military author, not the noted financial analyst), equities didn't have to look hard to find The Hunt for Red October. A crimson tide quickly enveloped the stock market, with S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) issues imploding for an eighth time in 10. Some stocks did buck a bad tape, notably The Empire State (NYSE:ESRT) Building owner after its initial public offering. "'Twas Beauty killed the Beast" atop its spire, though the edifice's radio antenna remains strong, to judge by a 5.33% surge in Pandora (NYSE:P). With apologies to MTV, then, video certainly didn't kill the radio star. Video, however - along with an analyst downgrade - clearly killed Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), which tumbled 6.24%.

Today in economics, analysts expect to see a slippage in September's Institute for Supply Management services index at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate earnings front, Comtech Telecommunications (NASDAQ:CMTL), Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), International Speedway (NASDAQ:ISCA), and Xyratex (NASDAQ:XRTX) are all due to release results.

Alcatel Lucent (NYSE:ALU): Raymond James reduces the French firm to Market Perform from Strong Buy, sending shares lower in today's pre-market activity.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH): The chemical company gets taken to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, whose amended price objective is $97.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY): Shares, upgraded elsewhere today, are now Underperform from Market Perform at Sanford Bernstein.

China Mobile (NYSE:CHL): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch moves the telecom titan to Underperform from Neutral.

Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ): Citing limited earnings upside on a stock trading atop all time highs, Oppenheimer lowers its investment assessment on the fast food firm to Perform from Outperform.

Edgen Group (NYSE:EDG): Morgan Stanley moves the industrial equipment stock to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): The social networking name, on a rocket to the moon since its earnings in July, is taken to Hold from Buy at Pivotal Research. Shares look richly valued following this parabolic recent rise, the broker believes.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON): Goldman Sachs pulls the seed stock from its Conviction Buy list after the company's earnings announcement.

Redwood Trust (NYSE:RWT): RWT, a diversified real estate investment trust, gets reduced to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

SABMiller (OTCMKTS:SBMRY): Credit Suisse cuts the brewing behemoth to Neutral from Outperform.

Solvay (OTCMKTS:SVYZY): The European pharmaceutical firm is slashed to Underweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

Standard Chartered (OTCMKTS:SCBFF): Numis slashes the British financial firm to Hold from Add.

Unilever (NYSE:UN): Goldman Sachs gives a Buy-from-Conviction Buy downgrade to the consumer products powerhouse after its earnings announcement.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Noodles & Co Looks a Little Limp and Stock Upgrades: Vivus Stock Is to Diet For.)

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.
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