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Stock Downgrades: Even Jennifer Lawrence Can't Save Silver Spring Networks


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

Swimming with Wall Street's sharks kept investors underwater as Shamu proved no match for the "great vampire squid." SeaWorld (NYSE:SEAS) surged 8.39% after Oscar blacklisted Blackfish, but Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) weighed on the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) with a 2.00% tumble. Meanwhile Jonah and the Whale, who use Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) for their market research, were powerless to prevent that unloved equity from imploding 28.59% in leading S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) laggards, and this on the day Mr. Hill snared an Academy Award nomination. (Truth be told, his Wolf's teeth are way scarier than those of any ocean-dwelling great white.) There were some winners on a day US stock markets snapped a two-session winning streak. A broker boost sent bourbon king Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.B), pride of Louisville, Kentucky, up 1.80% to a historic high. Still, Jennifer Lawrence - that other pride of Louisville, Kentucky - really ought to lay off her hometown's most popular product for a little while. (Just kidding Jen, you are always utterly adorable. Although, as Anne Hathaway can attest, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown of "America's sweetheart.") And Wall Street was abuzz with a dramatic development involving an executive who will forever be associated with a blue dress. But enough about that 61-year-old dude who heads up ABN Amro, for it is azure-attired Marissa Mayer who clearly still hasn't found what she's looking for. Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) fell 1.78% after she gave her second in command his marching orders.

In terms of economic events that may move US stock markets ahead of the holiday weekend, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary January consumer sentiment survey is expected to tick up from December 2013's final figure at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK), Comerica (NYSE:CMA), General Electric (NYSE:GE), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI), and Indian outsourcer Wipro (NYSE:WIT) all release results.

Atwood Oceanics (NYSE:ATW): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY): This rating reduction might have been marginally more useful had it come before yesterday's 28.59% tumble amid horrific holiday sales, but today Best Buy stock gets taken to Neutral from Buy at both Goldman Sachs and UBS. (NASDAQ:CYOU): Change is indeed tough. The Chinese online gaming outfit is now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Columbia Sportswear (NASDAQ:COLM): Macquarie moves the stock to Neutral from Outperform.

Foster Wheeler (NASDAQ:FWLT): Shares are downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

GrafTech International (NYSE:GTI): GTI gets taken to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Nu Skin Enterprises (NYSE:NUS): This rating reduction might have been marginally more useful had it come before yesterday's 26.41% tumble amid pyramid-scheme allegations in China, but Bank of America-Merrill Lynch moves the stock to Neutral from Buy this morning.

People's United Financial (NASDAQ:PBCT): FBR Capital cuts the company to Underperform from Perform with a price objective of $14. Issues include a reduced capital base.

Rocket Fuel (NASDAQ:FUEL): BMO Capital moves the equity to Market Perform from Outperform.

Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS): Investec reduces its fellow financial firm to Sell from Hold.

Silver Spring Networks (NYSE:SSNI): With Silver Linings Playbook in the news again, how Silver Spring Networks could use J. Law's Midas touch today. Its stock, tumbling 28.55% ahead of the open, gets taken to Neutral from Outperform by Robert W. Baird. Credit Suisse (also Neutral from Outperform) adds to its agony.

Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers its investment opinion to Underperform from Neutral.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Can't Be Licked

Stock Upgrades: Allergan Gets 50th Birthday Boost From Michelle Obama
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