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Stock Downgrades: The Medicines Company Stuck in Sickbed

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

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Call it dumb luck, but the smart money always seems to fall hard for April Fools' Day. The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX), which has risen roughly 68% of the time on April 1, advanced to a fresh best again yesterday. (Alas, amid all the fun and games, an extremely ill-advised court jester on Capitol Hill mocked the Shakespearean tragedy going on at General Motors (NYSE:GM).) April fools rushed in to Rush Enterprises (NASDAQ:RUSHA), which rode a broker boost to jump 3.66%. It ended at a historic high. As, indeed, did Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK), which admirably shrugged off Putin's fools "Russian in." "The Last Frontier" state is thus in good shape, and Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN) -- home of Captain Kirk's "final frontier," is likewise. It surged 4.99% despite picking yesterday, or all days, to change its name. Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), up 3.35%, would never have been so named had not the sadly departed Shirley Temple saved its predecessor at the tender age of six. Also bidding us goodbye -- and good riddance, in the eyes of many -- was a disgraced financier who brought down the savings and loan industry by selling worthless junk bonds. Elsewhere in fixed income, an already-bad situation has now become totally Gross.
 
Today in economics, factory orders for February are expected to tick up from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Monsanto (NYSE:MON) released results earlier this morning.
 
ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT): The steelmaker's stock is tumbling 2.27% today after being taken to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse, whose concerns include a "lack of earnings momentum." Its price objective, previously $20, is trimmed by $3.
 
Edison International (NYSE:EIX): Shares get downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus due to an excessive valuation.
 
Essex Property (NYSE:ESS): Goldman Sachs slashes the stock to Neutral from Buy.
 
Healthstream (NASDAQ:HSTM): The company is cut to Market Perform at Northland Capital, which cites the overhang and uncertainty of its ICD-10 delay.
 
Imperial Oil (NYSEMKT:IMO): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the energy name to Underperform from Neutral.
 
Nordion (NYSE:NDZ): NDZ is now Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.
 
The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO): The stock, which fell 15.48% yesterday, is moved to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray. A court ruling regarding rival Hospira's (NYSE:HSP) blood thinner remains a real concern.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: 57 Cents Could Cost General Motors Billions

Stock Upgrades: Intuitive Surgical Rides the Rise of the Robots
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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