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Stock Downgrades: Jamba Getting Pulped, and That's No Fiction


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

When National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG), which surged some 16.12%, easily tops the entire NYSE, you know something isn't quite right. Thus did the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) drop to a one-month low after comments by House Speaker John Boehner on a show hosted by that proud son of Athens, George Stephanopoulos. (Hey, where there's a Will, there's a way. Even if that other George is now a Fox guarding the hen house.)

With Uncle Sam again idle, telecoms were the sole sector to end up. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) - its ability to charge the government $775 per month to tap our phone lines apparently unimpaired by the shutdown - gained 1.13%. Twitter (TWTR), which isn't even trading yet, followed up Friday's Tweeter inanity by being begun with a bullish "Buy" initiation. Alas JC Penney's (NYSE:JCP) recent attempts to humanize the hashtag fell flat on its face, as it plunged 1.91% to a fresh low. And we received redundant proof that misery does indeed love company as Rick's Cabaret (NASDAQ:RICK) - whose stock has been on a rocket to the moon of late - lost 1.36% after the adult entertainment operator banned the 0-5 Giants from its premises.

Economic data remains on hiatus due to the government shutdown, but Alcoa (NYSE:AA), Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM), and Wolverine World Wide (NYSE:WWW) all unofficially usher in third-quarter earnings season when they release results today.

Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Boston Properties (NYSE:BXP): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the real estate outfit to Neutral from Buy.

Brookfield Office Properties (NYSE:BPO): Shares are moved to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.

Ceva Inc. (NASDAQ:CEVA): The specialized semiconductor stock gets slashed to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer, which cites smartphone issues among other challenges to its earnings.

GDF Suez (OTCMKTS:GDFZY): The utility is trading lower in Europe today after getting downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI): Morgan Stanley inflicts an unusual 180 degree (Underweight from Overweight) downgrade on the stock. Its reduced price objective is $64.

Jamba, Inc. (NASDAQ:JMBA): The juice giant, falling 15% as I write, is moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Northland. A sharp slippage in sales, amid lower overall earnings guidance, are each cited. Its target is taken to $12.

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP): The stock, which hit fresh lows yesterday but is bouncing back impressively this morning, are now Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee.

Masco (NYSE:MAS): KeyBanc moves home-builder MAS to Underweight from Hold.

Novartis (NYSE:NVS): The pharmaceutical giant is falling overseas today after being taken to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, which says that "improved capital allocation is already reflected [in its stock]."

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Energizer, Whole Foods, and Walgreen and Stock Upgrades: Procter & Gamble, Avon Products, and Cloud Peak Energy.)
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