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Stock Downgrades: Analyst in No Hurry to Curry Favor With IBM


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

Ominously, echoes of 1987 are suddenly everywhere in the stock market. Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) departing head bids us farewell amid the tunes of that year's Dirty Dancing. This as the New York Giants had their worst start to a season in 26 years. At least Pandora (NYSE:P), which surged some 7.78%, has reason to praise Radio Days, Woody Allen's '87 paean to the golden age of wireless. When it was all over, the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) had dropped for second straight week, briefly dipping below 15,000. Microsoft, up 2%, actually fared better than most, especially with Kill Bill apparently all the rage. William Ruprecht faced calls for his head at Sotheby's (NYSE:BID) and William Ackman endured another torrid time of it. The hedge fund heavyweight was quoted as saying, "You need a thick skin to be in this business." Or perhaps just a Potbelly (NASDAQ:PBP), which jumped 119.79% in its first trading session.

Today in economics, August consumer credit is predicted to expand at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. In earnings action, expect Tower Group (NASDAQ:TWGP) to release results.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA): Amid softening aluminum pricing, Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal-Weight from Overweight. Its price objective, previously $10, is now $9.

C.H. Robinson (NASDAQ:CHRW): The transport stock gets taken to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB): Canaccord Genuity gives its fellow financial firm a downgrade to Hold from Buy.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): Shares, which scored a bullish buy initiation elsewhere this morning, are also reduced to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James on account of valuation issues.

EQT Corporation (NYSE:EQT): Morgan Stanley moves the equity to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

Evercore Partners (NYSE:EVR): The stock is now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC): HFC is slashed to In-line from Outperform at Imperial Capital, which also takes its target price to $41 amid a contraction in refining margins.

Informatica (NASDAQ:INFA): Shares are downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM): The key Dow component, which apparently now employs more people in India than it does here at home, gets downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays. Its price objective, previously $215, is taken to $190.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the tech name to Neutral from Buy.

Progressive (NYSE:PGR): The insurance outfit is moved to Market Perform from Strong Buy at Raymond James.

Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK): Crédit Agricole cuts the company to Underperform from Outperform.

Synageva Biopharma (NASDAQ:GEVA): GEVA gets downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with Wedbush.

Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL): Luxury homebuilder TOL is trading lower today after being taken to Neutral from Buy at Goldman.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Apple, Hain Celestial, and Signet Jewelers and New Stock Coverage: Facebook, General Electric, and Garmin.)
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