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Stock Downgrades: Polar Vortex? Las Vegas Sands Visited by the Curse of 'The Cooler'

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

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The Miracle on 34th Street turned out to be but a mirage on Wall Street. Macy's (NYSE:M), riding a broker boost, surged some 7.64% to top the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX), yet most stocks still ended lower. This as investors sat on the sidelines awaiting this morning's awful employment report, with the Fed's freshly anointed cover girl similarly content to mark Time. (Given that watchmaker Fossil Group (NASDAQ:FOSL) was just cut, that may not be the smartest strategy.) The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index staggered to a split decision, this in a week when investors definitely weren't "minding their P's and Q's.". Please please me? With all due respect to those four lads from Liverpool, oh puleeze. No, thanks. J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) just tumbled 10% after announcing it was "pleased" with holiday sales while providing no specifics. The Container Store (NYSE:TCS) has endured a similar sell-off week despite equity analysts declaring themselves "pleased" with its performance. And a shunned Sprint (NYSE:S) shed another 5.61% even as it claimed to be, well - you know- with its NextRadio App. (Shia, you should be afraid. Be very afraid, for that word is clearly the kiss of death.) Elsewhere, diamond retailer Zale Corporation (NYSE:ZLC) endured a dog day in dropping (so to speak) an NYSE-worst 14.29%.

In this morning's economic action, November wholesale inventories are expected to contract from the prior month's pace when they are announced at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Indian outsourcing and information technology outfit Infosys (NYSE:INFY) beat Street estimates when it released its results earlier today.

Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA): Shares get downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Barracuda Networks (NYSE:CUDA): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the tech name to Neutral from Buy.

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK): BlackRock stock is now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

BP Plc (NYSE:BP): BNP Paribas cuts the British petroleum firm to Neutral from Overweight, sending it lower in today's London trading.

Budget European Airlines: EasyJet (OTCMKTS:ESYJY) and Ryanair (OTCMKTS:RYAAY) are each lowered to Hold from Buy at Liberum.

Drug Stocks: Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is now Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays. Meanwhile Dow member Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), upgraded only yesterday, gets taken to Equal Weight from Overweight.

Fossil Group (NASDAQ:FOSL): KeyBanc Capital moves the company to Underweight from Hold, saying that wearable technology trend could represent a competitive threat.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS): In this, the week of a deep freeze that may cost the country five billion bucks, it looks like Las Vegas Sands stock has been struck by the curse of the "cooler." (Nothing to do with hepcats like Dean, Sammy, and Frank. In the casino world, "coolers" are people who inflict misfortune upon other players by their mere presence at the table, as depicted in a 2003 movie.) FBR Capital cuts the casino company to Perform from Outperform amid a less favorable risk:reward ratio. Its amended price objective is $85, up from $80.

Pacific Sunwear (NASDAQ:PSUN): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Janney.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE): Cowen cuts stock in Pfizer, a key Dow component, to Market Perform from Outperform.

Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL): RCL is reduced to Hold from Buy at DNB Markets.

Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK): Barclays slashes Splunk stock to Equal Weight from Overweight.

Unisys (NYSE:UIS): Shares are now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Cloud Peak Energy Reigns Supreme

Stock Upgrades: There's Nothing Two-Faced About Janus Capital Group This Month
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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