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Stock Downgrades: Miserable Monday for Microsoft

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

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What a "bizarre" week for Art. And art, with a Francis Bacon work selling for a world record $142.4 million at Christie's auction in Rockefeller Center. US markets hit historic highs in tandem and, if all this ebullience may mark a market top, post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin - who was a stockbroker before he was a starving artist - can afford a wry chuckle from his celestial perch. The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) finished another winning week with three straight records. Noted nuclear engineer Homer Simpson - flush enough with a blockbuster new syndication deal - saw uranium outfit USEC Inc. (NYSE:USU) surge some 53.22%. Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM), should any Three Mile Island-type accidents occur, should be a safe place to hide out after it jumped 12.00%. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) gave $2.7 billion to Oreo maker Mondelez (MDLZ), which should surely now be forced to explain why its "Double Stuf" offerings contain only 1.86 times the stuff of a regular one.

There isn't any top-tier economic data to move US markets today but, as far as specific stocks are concerned, Jacobs Engineering (NYSE:JEC), Mazor Robotics (NASDAQ:MZOR), Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), Sky-mobi (NASDAQ:MOBI), and Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) are all due to announce quarterly earnings.

Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR): Citigroup cuts the coal company to Sell from Neutral.

Darling International (NYSE:DAR): DAR gets downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with Wedbush. Its price objective, previously $26, is taken to $20.

Halcon Resources (NYSE:HK): Goldman Sachs slashes the stock to Sell from Neutral.

Interactive Brokers (NASDAQ:IBKR): Interactive Brokers is cut to Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette. Over the past 12 months, Interactive Brokers stock has surged some 70.72%.

MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI): The Buenos Aires-based online auctioneer, often called the "eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) of Latin America," is moved to Underweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers Microsoft, a key Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) member, to Underperform from Neutral. As a result, Microsoft stock is trading lower ahead of this morning's opening bell.

Nucor (NYSE:NUE): Commodity company Nucor is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA): Shares are lower today after being taken to Underweight from Equal-Weight with Morgan Stanley, whose analyst wrote in a note that "the stock seems to be pricing in substantial earnings improvement that is still uncertain."

Renewable Energy (NASDAQ:REGI): REGI gets its rating reduced to Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.

Supervalu (NYSE:SVU): Supervalu gets slashed to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. Its concerns over Supervalu relate mainly to a reduction in federal food stamps.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Analyst Utters Four-Letter Word on Twitter! and Stock Upgrades: Radware Is Totally Awesome)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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