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Stock Downgrades: It's 1997 All Over Again in Equities, but the Spice Girls Can't Save McCormick


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

Stocks slid once more, with Wall Street rocked by central bank action. The Fed? Heck no. Turkey, which blindsided investors with a 445-basis point interest rate increase. Thus did an apparently unending implosion in emerging markets again send the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) down by triple digits, simultaneously stealing Ben Bernanke's thunder on a day he chaired his final FOMC meeting. According to Time magazine, blonde women are the only people on the planet capable of mindful meditation. That is surely not the case, but Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) suddenly unloved platinum-tressed Marissa Mayer is certainly in need of some time to calmly chillax after her stock slid an S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)-worst 8.71%. Meanwhile the Marlboro Man, although he would never do anything as sissy as yoga, feels her pain as his parent Altria Group (NYSE:MO) gapped down 1.14% to a fresh 52-week low. And Anglo American (OTCMKTS:AAUKF), which owns 85% of diamond giant De Beers, surged 8.04%. That's De Beers, not Da Bears. They remain sleeping, but likely not for much longer if Wall Street continues its current slump.

Today in economics, December 2013 pending home sales are expected to post a decline at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Expect earnings announcements out of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Blackstone (NYSE:BX), and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG), among a multitude of others. Now let's turn to today's analyst downgrades, a group that includes McCormick & Company (NYSE:MKC).

Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS): Citigroup cuts the company, whose shares are sliding some 7.20% as we speak, to Neutral from Buy. Its price objective, previously $70, gets slashed to $58.

EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Mizuho, which also trims its target price by $3 to $27. Rival VMware (NYSE:VMW) is seen by the broker as having a more attractive current valuation.

Harmony Gold (NYSE:HMY): JPMorgan cuts the commodity company to Neutral from Overweight.

McCormick & Company: In emerging markets it's suddenly 1997 redux, but even a pop group who peaked that year would be powerless to save this spice, seasoning, and condiment company. The stock, which slid 6.21% yesterday, today gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Tractor Supply (NASDAQ:TSCO): TSCO is moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

W.R. Berkley (NYSE:WRB): Citing a steep valuation, Deutsche Bank slashes the stock to Sell from Hold.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Time to Wake Up and Smell the Turkish Coffee on DreamWorks Animation?

Stock Upgrades: JetBlue Can Fly High
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