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Stock Downgrades: Foul Day for Fairway

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

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Talk about a hockey-stick recovery. The long plunge in employment that accompanied our Great Recession has indeed been followed by a stubbornly small snap back. Just 113,000 jobs -- or 411 less than once squeezed into Michigan Stadium for a hockey game -- were added in January. This was considerably fewer than the approximately 185,000 expected by experts. (Presumably the same self-styled gurus who predicted bond yields would spike, had the Broncos as two-point Super Bowl favorites, and -- in the case of that unfortunate Beatles-rejecting executive at Decca Recording -- said in 1962, "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." How's that one working out?) Despite the punk payroll report, Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) finished with successive triple-digit increases in posting their best week of the year. Wall Street, looking ahead as it always does, appeared to bet that February will be better. Certainly the ease with which Ben Bernanke -- unemployed as of the last day of January -- found immediate work as February began augurs well as a leading economic indicator for this month. Among stocks on the move, Green Mountain Coffee (NASDAQ:GMCR) gained 33% after Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) took a 10% stake. So, who's sorry now, Scarlett? Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) dropped a Dow-worst 3.4% after appointing Satya Nadella as its CEO, but it is another proud product of India that surely has the toughest job in tech. This after a totally disowned Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) tumbled 16%; who would be its CFO Mike Gupta now? Completing a trifecta of trouble for sons of the Subcontinent, Mathew Martoma must now prepare for a spell behind bars.

There aren't any top-tier economic reports out today. In earnings action, CNA Financial (NYSE:CNA), Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), and Masco (NYSE:MAS) all release results.

AFLAC (NYSE:AFL): The insurance outfit gets removed from Deutsche Bank's Short-Term Buy list.

ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the steel stock to Neutral from Buy.

Bally Technologies (NYSE:BYI): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Janney.

Dean Foods (NYSE:DF): Deutsche pulls the dairy powerhouse from its Short-Term Buy list.

Fairway Group (NASDAQ:FWM): The gourmet grocer, fresh from seeing its shares tumble 28.96% on Friday following management turnover, gets moved to Underperform from Neutral by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

FMC Technologies (NYSE:FTI): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair.

G4S plc (OTCMKTS:GFSZY): Panmure slashes the security stock to Sell from Hold.

Monster Worldwide (NYSE:MWW): Following a sharp recent run-up in the share price, FBR Capital cuts the company to Perform from Outperform.

National Fuel Gas (NYSE:NFG): NFG is now Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital.

News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA): Credit Suisse lowers the Wall Street Journal owner to Neutral from Outperform.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Sky's the Limit for Rocket Fuel

Stock Upgrades: Is This Heaven? No, It's Iowa -- Meredith Corporation a Heartland Hit
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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