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Stock Downgrades: First Niagara Falls Out of Bed

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

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One is the loneliest number? You could make that case, especially after Match.com owner IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) surged 13.98% to a historic high, but a quartet of single digits did just fine for the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI). An 11.11 point increase may feel like a damp squib following Wednesday's fireworks, but it was still enough to send US stock markets to their 46th record of this remarkable year. The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX), which slipped 0.06%, was subpar but otherwise, golf was the way to go. Callaway (NYSE:ELY) surged 7.17% on a broker boost. Bethpage-based Cablevision(NYSE:CVC), whose hometown is where Tiger Woods once magisterially won the US Open, jumped 4.13%. As for green-themed Accenture (NYSE:ACN), it advanced 5.14% on an earnings beat. The consulting company once employed Mr. Woods as its spokesman, sprouting the tagline, "We know what it takes to be a Tiger." This, of course, took on an unintended meaning after his sex addiction and steamy affairs with cocktail waitresses cropped up. Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI), home of Howard Stern, also scored an analyst upgrade yet it ended off 1.18%, thus matching the shock jock's sad mood after an octogenarian unfortunately expired a scant 24-hours before he was due to enjoy an on-air threesome. Moving from ménage-a-trois to the three branches of government, our elected officials, ever eager to kick the can ahead of Christmas, postponed a planned vote on Janet Yellen's nomination as Fed head until after the Three Wise Men make their annual appearance.

Last week's trading action finished on Friday the 13th. This time, what will be the last full week of '13 for stocks ends with the scary-sounding quadruple witching, so it clearly doesn't pay to be superstitious on Wall Street. (Or in France, for that matter.) In terms of events that may move US markets today, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), CarMax (NYSE:KMX), Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL), Walgreen (NYSE:WAG), and Zuoan Fashion (NYSE:ZA) all announce earnings.

BRE Properties (NYSE:BRE): Deutsche Bank downgrades the company to Hold from Buy.

Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ): Shares, recently trading atop historic highs, are now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

First Niagara Financial (NASDAQ:FNFG): More bad news for the Buffalo-based regional bank, which fell 5.28% yesterday. Amid management transition at First Niagara Financial, Citigroup slashes the stock to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup.

IAC/InterActiveCorp. (NASDAQ:IACI): The owner of OKCupid gets moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo. Valuation issues are understandably cited after yesterday's surge in the stock.

Randgold Resources (NASDAQ:GOLD): Beleaguered bullion really can't catch a break. Today Randgold Resources is reduced to Hold from Buy at Canaccord. As a result, its stock is sliding some 2.51% as I write this article.

TIBCO Software (NASDAQ:TIBX): TIBCO Software stock, currently tumbling 11.36%, is taken to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Nimble Storage Can Make You a Quick Buck and Stock Upgrades: Red Hat Caps Off the Week Nicely)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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