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Stock Downgrades: Wearing of the Green? It's 50 Shades of Red for Gray Television

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

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Today may be Saint Patrick's Day, but equity markets, awash in red, are inclined to agree with the White House's Kermit: It isn't easy being green. (Or indeed Gray, as we shall shortly see.) Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), awash in emerald, looked on in envy after tumbling 10%. Green Giant owner General Mills (NYSE:GIS) fell 2.43% on Friday following its downbeat earnings guidance. And the leader of the free world yucked it up online between two green ferns -- not the most elegant way for the World Wide Web to turn 25. Thank heaven for Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ:GMCR), which surged 6.8% on robust Irish coffee orders even as the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped for five straight sessions. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), up 2.8%, bested all blue chips. In the current Cold War climate, it is easy to forget how 30,000 Muscovites braved frigid January temperatures to taste their first freedom fries in 1990. That was, if memory serves, the year Total Recall was released. Mary Barra is evidently hard at work on a sequel at General Motors (NYSE:GM), which nosedived 9.6%.
 
Today's quarterly earnings announcements include Harvest Natural (NYSE:HNR), PICO Holdings (NASDAQ:PICO), and Sterling Construction (NASDAQ:STRL).
 
Aaron's (NYSE:AAN): Raymond James reduces its rating to Perform from Outperform.
 
Baxter International (NYSE:BAX): Goldman Sachs moves the medical-device maker to Buy from Conviction Buy.
 
Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ): The world's largest winemaker is now Neutral from Buy, again at Goldman.
 
Energy StocksAtwood Oceanics (NYSE:ATW) gets pulled from the Conviction Buy list at a busy Goldman Sachs, which inflicts Neutral-from-Buy downgrades on Cameron International (NYSE:CAM) and National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV).
 
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): The recently surging social-networking name is now Hold from Buy at Argus.
 
General Dynamics (NYSE:GD): Shares are downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.
 
GNC Holdings (NYSE:GNC): Troubled by the prospect of slowing same-store sales, Credit Suisse cuts the company to Neutral from Outperform.
 
Gray Television (NYSE:GTN): Shares have surged 142.17% in the past year but are falling 1.62% as we speak after getting downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.
 
Harris Corp (NYSE:HRS): Barclays reduces the stock to Underweight from Equal Weight with a price objective of $73.
 
Lin TV (NYSE:LIN): LIN gets lowered to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells.
 
Storage Stocks: Amid valuation issues, Macquarie moves Extra Space Storage (NYSE:EXR) and Sovran Self Storage (NYSE:SSS) to Neutral from Outperform.
 
VeriSign (NASDAQ:VRSN): Cowen takes the tech stock to Market Perform from Outperform.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: WidePoint Stock High, Wide, and Handsome

Stock Upgrades: Lorillard, Potash Light Up the Joint
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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