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Stock Downgrades: Today Is No Time to Back Up the Truck on Heartland Express


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

Call it a "Santa Claus rally" if you must, but this Mother of All Bull Markets needs no help from Father Christmas. Not when the "Money Honey" wins out over "Just the facts, ma'am." Maria Bartiromo may have left her anchor desk over a month ago, but being erroneously identified as a "CNBC host" in her USA Today article yesterday did no damage to its owner Gannett (NYSE:GCI), which jumped 2.88% to hit a half-decade high. "McPaper" was born in 1982, which until now was regarded as the year history's biggest ever bull market began. 2013 is now giving it a serious run for the money, however with the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) having set an astonishing 48 records this year. Mind you, some stocks were more Scrooge than Kris Kringle. Showing no Christmas spirit, scuba shop Sport Chalet (NASDAQ:SPCHA) unceremoniously sent Santa literally underwater in imploding 8.33%. Sex kitten Ertha Kitt's exhortation for Santa Baby to "Come and trim my Christmas tree, With some decorations bought at Tiffany (NYSE:TIF)" proved awful advice as the bling king ended off an unlucky 0.13% after being hit with a $449 million breach of contract by Swatch (OTCMKTS:SWGAY). (After that pullback, its stock is surely a steal.) And Ertha's admonition for Father Christmas to "hurry down the chimney tonight" with "a '54 convertible too, light blue" doesn't make much cents after Ford (NYSE:F) followed up last week's 7%-plus slide by losing another 1.75%. At least investors didn't need mistletoe to tell them "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus" after XO Group (NYSE:XOXO) advanced 5.44%.

'Tis the day before Christmas, when US stock markets close three hours early at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. In terms of economic data due this morning, November new home sales are expected to improve from October's pace at 10:00 a.m. There will be no trading tomorrow, with investors instead at home awaiting gifts from the man with the white beard. (This one. Not that one, for the latter has been quite generous enough this year, and deserves a rare day off.)

CalAmp (NASDAQ:CAMP): CalAmp stock, imploding 8.74% as I write this article, gets cut to Equal-Weight from Overweight at First Analysis. The rating reduction comes after the company reported third quarter earnings.

Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU): Glu Mobile stock is currently tumbling some 3.79% after being reduced to Neutral from Buy at brokerage boutique B. Riley & Co.

Heartland Express (NASDAQ:HTLD): Heartland Express is a short-to-medium-haul truckload carrier but you may not want to "back up the truck" in its stock today. This after Stifel slashes it to Hold from Buy. Valuation concerns are cited, with the equity having recently broken past the broker's $19 fair value projection.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Santa, Crediting Botox for Never Aging a Day, Backs Up the Sleigh on Allergan and New Stock Coverage: CliffsNotes Can Help Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Climb Every Mountain)
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