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Stock Downgrades: Lumber Liquidators Magic Carpet Ride Ends With Trading Floor Thud


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

Investors in Lumber Liquidators (NYSE:LL) are hitting the roof, as there appears to be no floor to how low the hardwood-flooring firm will fall. Its stock, fresh from yesterday's 8.06% implosion, is tumbling another 20.49% even as we speak. This, after the company pre-announced awful Q2 earnings that included a shocking 7.1% slide in its same-store sales.
October is hands down the single scariest stock market month of all, encompassing all manner of Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) horror shows from 1929 to 1987, but yesterday equities advanced after the Fed indicated it will finally end its bond-buying binge by Halloween. Whether investors will be quite so sanguine come the fall is highly debatable. Indeed, having second guessed itself just since the closing bell, Wall Street is now set to freak out in only about 10 minutes, but yesterday stocks snapped a two-session slump on the news. Markets were boosted by a ninth straight plunge in petroleum prices, with the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) ending at 1972 after our oil output was predicted to exceed its record reached in 1972. 1972 saw the release of Good Times, the fifth album of funk super group Kool & the Gang, but Wednesday was the worst of times for the Container Store (NYSE:TCS), with its stock imploding 8.39% and swiftly going for a song after the CEO unwisely blamed soulful '70s music for its troubles. Deviled-eggs maker Career Education (NASDAQ:CECO), operator of Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools, posted a divine showing in surging 5.17%, even as a chef saw God in an eggplant. Argentina, aiming to win a first World Cup since its "Hand of God" triumph in 1986 -- a trophy eventually claimed by overcoming then West Germany in the final -- set up a rematch. It did so by beating Holland, just as it had in the 1978 final. 1978 was indeed an eternity ago. That year a couple of beatniks by the name of Ben and Jerry founded an ice cream empire. They have long since sold out for big bucks to Unilever (NYSE:UN) of the Netherlands, whose Wednesday woe was made even more miserable by a rating reduction.
Today in economics, May wholesale inventories are forecast to slip from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. EDT. On the earnings front, expect announcements by Barracuda Networks (NYSE:CUDA), Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO), and PriceSmart (NASDAQ:PSMT).

Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features both a blue chip and flailing French airline, plus headline stock Lumber Liquidators.

Air France-KLM (OTCMKTS:AFLYY): Shares, slumping of late, get cut to Hold from Buy at Cantor Fitzgerald.
Lumber Liquidators: Today's headline downgrade is lowered by both Credit Suisse (Neutral from Outperform, target price taken to $65 from $100) and Jefferies (Hold from Buy, price objective slashed to $57 from $115).
T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW): Evercore reduces its investment assessment to Equal Weight from Overweight.
UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH): The Dow member is moved to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.
Waddell & Reed (NSYE:WDR): Citigroup downgrades its fellow financial firm to Neutral from Buy.
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: CIT Group Gets the $87,000 Rug Pulled Out From Under It

Stock Upgrades: Even Investors With a Tin Ear Hear Alcoa Making Money Talk
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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