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Stock Downgrades: President Obama's Shopping Spree Can't Save The Gap

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

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Middle age is no fun -- just ask the sons of 1971. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC), Pimco, and J&R Music World -- three increasingly arthritic institutions each in their 44th year -- all endured a day from hell. (And, in the case of the first two, their issues are all about Mo.) Momentum stocks continued their slide, sending the tech-heavy index to its most punk performance since November 9, 2011. 1971 was the single worst year in history for gold bugs but, benefiting from a flight to safety, yesterday the yellow metal hit its highest level for more than two weeks. In the ultimate irony, Nasdaq OMX (NASDAQ:NDAQ) actually ended up 0.03% even amid the bloodbath. Its CEO got no end of Greifeld for that botched Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) IPO. So, he likely enjoyed the poke in the eye the social networking name just suffered. Shares slumped 5.21% even after a broker boost. You know things have reached a pretty pass when putting lipstick on PIIGS is the only way to make a profit. Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) added on 0.47% after Portugal and Greece both got belated good news. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (OTCMKTS:LVMUY) certainly made a silk purse -- or scarf, in its case -- out of a sow's ear with its 2.95% increase. Jamie Dimon tends more toward tin ears; his stock is definitely not making money talk this morning.
 
Today in economics, April's preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey is seen as increasing slightly from the final figure for March at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, the aforementioned JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), along with Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) each released results earlier.
 
ABB Ltd. (NYSE:ABB): Robert W. Baird reduces its rating to Neutral from Outperform amid limited upside potential. Its price objective, previously $30, gets trimmed by $2.
 
Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY): Another day, another downgrade for the suffering stock, which slumped some 6.17% on Thursday. Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup, which also slashes its target price to $72 from $85.
 
Corning (NYSE:GLW): The stock is showing weakness this morning after being taken to Neutral from Buy at UBS.
 
Elli Mae (NYSE:ELLI): FBR Capital cuts the company to Perform from Outperform with a $29 target amid abating refinancing activity.
 
Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR): EQR gets downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies.
 
Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS): President Obama's recent trip to a midtown Manhattan Gap isn't doing much for its stock, which is slumping 6.33% as we speak. Shares are now Neutral from Buy ($41 objective) at Janney, whose concerns include inventory and ongoing promotional activity.
 
Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL): The stock is now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
 
Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC): Barclays takes the tech name to Equal Weight from Overweight.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Fed's Top-Secret Video Conference Perking Up Polycom?

Stock Upgrades: Shutterfly Has a Kodak Moment
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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