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Stock Downgrades: Turbulence Ahead at United Continental


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

United Continental Holdings (NYSE:UAL) shares may lose altitude today after getting downgraded by an equity analyst who fears that the company's operating results will continue to trail key competitors American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) for the foreseeable future.
"It's gonna be the end of the world." So warned Eli Wallach's scary stockbroker Jules Steinhart to a disbelieving Gordon Gekko & Co. in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the final film role of the late, great actor's storied career. It yet may be, with a widening wall of worry from Iraq to Crimea, but yesterday shares avoided Armageddon for another day. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) each ended up despite an apocalyptic GDP report that suggested Earth will end not with fire, but ice. Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE) took its 12-month advance to 63.26% amid claims that Luis Suárez's molar marks were Photoshopped. Were he still with us, Steve Jobs, who despised Adobe Flash, would likely be gritting his teeth after Uruguay's main man became the Internet's major meme at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). After being so rudely booted from the World Cup, the country shaped like a boot can't catch a break. Italy's own Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BIT:BMPS) -- the planet's oldest bank, established in 1472 -- tumbled a tough-to-swallow 19.79%. "Take a run 'round Vienna, Granada, Ravenna, Sienna," they sang in Anything Goes' "There's No Cure Like Travel." Just don't get Granada and Grenada mixed up, for that mistake sent British Airways owner Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) falling 1.51%. Elsewhere, all American eyes are today on the World Cup, where Team USA takes on Germany at high noon. Should the need arise, here's hoping we perform a wee bit better at penalty kicks than did a pop diva in the 1994 tournament. Moving from Diana Ross to the Supremes, a key TV copyright ruling from the nation's highest court sent shares of "Tiffany Network" CBS Corp (NYSE:CBS) surging 6.19%.
Today's economic calendar is quite quiet, but expect earnings announcements out of Accenture (NYSE:ACN), ConAgra (NYSE:CAG), Lennar (NYSE:LEN), and Nike (NYSE:NKE).
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features an American cosmetics company and English pharmaceutical firm, plus headline equity United Continental.

Estée Lauder (NYSE:EL): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at B. Riley & Co. Its target price is also trimmed, by $7 to $81.
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK): Panmure downgrades the British drug giant to Hold from Buy.
Hawaiian Electric (NYSE:HE): All out of juice? The stock is now Cautious from Neutral at ISI Group.
NewBridge Bancorp (NASDAQ:NBBC): Raymond James reduces its rating to Market Perform from Outperform.
United Continental Holdings: Today's headline stock gets taken to In-line from Outperform at Imperial Capital. The price objective also falls, to $47 from $55.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Don't Be Those '2 Broke Girls' - Buy CBS

Stock Upgrades: Zulily's Gains Won't Be Gone in a Flash
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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