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Stock Downgrades: Even 'President' Hamilton Gives Up on Groupon


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

Valentine's Day may be over, but home is still where the heart is for investors. Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) shrugged off ongoing turmoil from Ukraine to Caracas and finished comfortably higher after our Markit flash domestic manufacturing survey hit its highest level since, well, the "flash crash" month of May 2010. (Ironically, amid this "Made in the USA" recovery, American Apparel (NYSEMKT:APP) -- whose eye-catching "Made in America" ads are all about flashers -- imploded 32.02% to end at devilish $0.66.) Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), brushing off dual downgrades, rose 2.31% to a historic high after buying cutting-edge instant messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. Someone is still making old-fashioned phone calls, however, for Verizon (NYSE:VZ) jumped 3.42% to easily best all blue chips. That someone isn't our Defense Secretary, who can't get anyone on the line in revolutionary Kiev. Actually, that may be for the best, as F-Bombs allied to Molotov cocktails make for an especially explosive mix.

This morning in economics, January existing-home sales are expected to fall from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), Dish Network (NASDQ:DISH), and Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) are the pick of today's quarterly announcements.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY): Edward Jones slashes the giant pharmaceutical firm to Sell from Hold.

Columbia Sportswear (NASDAQ:COLM): Shares get downgraded to Sell from Hold at McAdams Wright Ragen.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN): Its "President" Hamilton joke, evidently deliberate, may have seemed funny at the time. Today, however, investors are having a good laugh at Groupon's expense. Shares, tumbling some 12.93% as we speak, are reduced to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital. Concerns include trends in the International Billings segment that are softer than anticipated.

Henkel (OTCMKTS:HENKY): The German glue giant, whose shares fell 3.64% yesterday in their single worst session since November 2012, is today taken to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James.

InterContinental Hotels Group (NYSE:IHG): Credit Suisse cuts the Holiday Inn owner to Underperform from Neutral.

Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN): The upscale retailer is losing 1.08% ahead of the open after getting downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel.

Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM): First Global gives the tobacco titan a Perform-from-Outperform downgrade.

Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG): Shares are now Underperform from Neutral at BNP Paribas.

Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG): Jefferies cuts the company to Hold from Buy. Its amended price objective is $38.50.

Sunoco Logistics (NYSE:SXL): The limited partnership gets lowered to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT): Stifel slashes the retail giant, yesterday's poorest Dow performer with a 1.78% decline, to Hold from Buy.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Is the Cupboard Bare at The Pantry? (MVPRO article)

Stock Upgrades: 'Blame Canada?' Team USA, That Cuts No Ice With Tim Hortons (MVPRO article)
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