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Stock Downgrades: Harley-Davidson in Hog Hell


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

Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) may soon learn that the road to Hells Angels is paved with good intentions. Shares, which lost 0.99% yesterday, are currently off another 1.50% this morning. Concerns include limited upside potential, difficult sales comparisons, and a systemic demographic challenge as its erstwhile Easy Rider customer base of baby boomers becomes increasingly arthritic.
Stocks suffered a serious sheikh-out as Dubai's main market, now firmly in bear territory, slid 6.68% and the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped by triple-digits amid an ongoing crisis in the deserts of Iraq. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) similarly slumped, this despite May new-home sales surging 18.6% for their biggest one-month gain since 1992. That was when President Bush 41 lost a debate, and with it the election, by glancing at his watch during a debate, but how a slumbering Marissa Mayer must wish she had a timepiece as she prepares for an 8:00 a.m. shareholder meeting this morning. At least Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOOBig Cheesehead could take some satisfaction in an analyst-inspired1.70% jump in Milwaukee's own Wisconsin Energy (NYSE:WEC). As the World Cup continued in the land of Carnival, Carnival (NYSE:CCL) wasn't celebrating after tumbling 2.99%. And the Garden State's Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) didn't even get New Jersey's 350th birthday party started as it fell on an iffy analyst initiation.
Today's quarterly earnings announcements include Apollo Education (NASDAQ:APOL), Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), General Mills (NYSE:GIS), and Monsanto (NYSE:MON).
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features both a troubled handbag titan and a surging biotech stock, plus headline equity Harley-Davidson.

Atlantic Power (NYSE:AT): Shares are slashed to Underperform from Sector Perform at National Bank Financial.
Coach (NYSE:COH): No relief in sight for the luxury retailer, which tumbled 12% last week. Today Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowers it to Underperform from Neutral amid uncertain turnaround prospects. Shares are, accordingly, slumping a further 1.00% before this morning's opening bell. Its reduced target price is $31.
EV Energy (NASDAQ:EVEP): Wunderlich lowers the limited partnership to Hold from Buy with an amended price objective of $41 primarily due to constrained divestiture clarity.
Harley-Davidson: Today's headline stock gets cut to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc Capital Markets.
Valmont (NYSE:VMI): Shares, falling 4.77% before the bell amid reduced fiscal year 2014 earnings guidance, are now Neutral from Outperform at Wedbush
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX): Back down to earth for this stock, whose 40.41% surge in Tuesday's otherwise terrible tape made it easily Nasdaq's (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) top performer. This morning it is moved to Neutral from Buy by H.C. Wainwright, which also trims its target by $20 to $85.
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Luis Suarez Should Sink His Teeth Into Whole Foods

Stock Upgrades: Walgreen Back at the Corner of Healthy and Happy

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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