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Stock Downgrades: Grim Prognosis for Quest Diagnostics

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

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It's a funny old world when Sysco (NYSE:SYY), the stodgy food stock, and not Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), the sexy tech stock, tops the entire S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) on a day the index reached a new record. We have indeed come a long way from the stock market's Internet-inspired millennial madness, when Ricky Martin had investors everywhere "Livin' la Vida Loca." These days, Livin' Velveeta Loca is the way to go, with a broker boost sending its owner Kraft Foods (NASDAQ:KRFT) up 1.77%. And let's not forget Livin' DaVita (NYSE:DVA) Loca, after the kidney dialysis provider surged 6.71%. Dallas Fed head Richard Fisher attempted to cast a pall on investors by saying tapering should start "at the earliest opportunity" but equities still ended up flying high, thanks to American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) from next door Fort Worth. It jumped 2.71% on an upbeat analyst initiation just in time for its trading debut. Unfortunately, there were no quick bucks to be made in fast food. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) moved 1.12% lower after revealing its sales were adversely impacted by competitive offerings from Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN). The latter has captured customers from its rival with an imaginatively revamped menu. Pretzel buns, bacon portabello melt on brioche, burgers topped with pot - that sort of thing.

In terms of economic events that may move US markets this morning, October wholesale trade inventories are released at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements out of Autozone (NYSE:AZO), Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL), H&R Block (NYSE:HRB), HD Supply Holdings (NASDAQ:HDS), Leidos Holdings (NYSE:LDOS), Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC), and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL).

Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Home Properties (NYSE:HME): Morgan Stanley reduces Home Properties stock to Underweight from Equal Weight. Its new price objective on Home Properties is $59.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX): Quest Diagnostics gets lowered to Underperform from Neutral by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. Its target price on Quest Diagnostics stock is now $55.

TeliaSonera (OTCMKTS:TLSNF): The stock is slashed to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Tenneco (NYSE:TEN): RBC Capital reduces its rating on Tenneco to Outperform from Top Pick. A relative lack of near-term upside is cited, and its objective on Tenneco stock is $66.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: You Can't Stem the Rising Tide at Celgene and New Stock Coverage: Papa John's Just Hit the Mother Lode)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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