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Stock Downgrades: It's Zero Dark Thirty for Oracle, Whose Longest Day Begins 24 Hours Early


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

On the eve of the summer solsticeOracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) -- whose CEO's daughter struck Hollywood gold with Zero Dark Thirty -- is a gloomy Gus utterly unable to chase the clouds away. Quite literally, for a revenue shortfall is being blamed on its erstwhile clients increasingly switching from the tech titan's traditional software offerings to new cloud-based programming platforms.
If yacht-owning Mr. Ellison of America's Cup fame will forgive the phrase as his stock sinks, a rising tide lifted most boats yesterday in what was a tale of two piers. Waterloo-based BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), which has always been particularly partial to Pier 36, jumped 9.65% even as Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR) plunged 13.14%. When it was all over, Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) advanced for a fifth straight session and the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) hit historic high number 21 of 2014. "Silver bullet" Molson Coors (NYSE:TAP) certainly enjoyed a 21-gun salute with a breakout to an all-time best as war drums were everywhere from Baghdad to Crimea. Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), for whom Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare is just a game, gained 0.96% but a scary study of the real thing put its cost at $9.8 trillion annually, to say nothing of precious lives lost. Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM), whose Pottery Barn rule in Iraq went tragically unheeded, also eerily advanced to a new record. StemCells (NASDAQ:STEM), whose principal product was last this big but one month before war arrived on our shores in 2001, skyrocketed 33.12% to top all Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) issues. And the fabled wartime investment advice of financier Nathan Rothschild -- "Buy on the sound of cannons, sell on the sound of trumpets" -- evidently still holds up two centuries on, as Canon (NYSE:CAJ) advanced 0.60% even as it incurred a rating reduction.
There is no economic data of note due today, but "quadruple witching" sessions rarely lack action. Carmax (NYSE:KMX) and Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) each released quarterly earnings earlier this morning.
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features a pet supply store and 3D printing powerhouse, plus headline stock Oracle Corporation.

CLECO Corp (NYSE:CNL): KeyBanc Capital cuts the company to Hold from Buy.
Coach: (NYSE:COH): No relief in sight for the troubled retailer, which imploded 8.93% yesterday. Today it is bopped on the head with a handbag with a Neutral-from-Overweight rating reduction at HSBC Securities.
Corinthian Colleges (NASDAQ:COCO): Yesterday shares in the marvelously misnamed for-profit education company slumped 67.06% to $0.28 amid genuine concerns about its ongoing viability. Now it gets slashed to Sell from Hold at Gabelli & Co.
ExOne (NASDAQ:XONE): Jefferies lowers its rating to Hold from Buy.
ITC Holdings (NYSE:ITC): Shares are now Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse, whose amended price objective is $34.50.
Oracle Corporation: Citigroup takes today's headline stock to Neutral from Buy.
PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM): How could they, and on Take Your Dog to Work Friday? Shares get cut to Neutral from Outperform with Wedbush.
Pier 1 Imports: The stock continues to walk the plank, taken to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
PS Business Parks (NYSE:PS): JPMorgan moves the equity to Neutral from Overweight.
Sonic Automotive (NYSE:SAH): Shares are falling ahead of the open after downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
Targa Resources (NYSE:NGLS): The limited partnership is lowered to Hold from Buy with a $61 target price with Wunderlich.
TIBCO Software (NASDAQ:TIBX): Susquehanna cuts the company to Neutral from Positive and also reduces its objective to $19 from $24.
Also see:

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