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Stock Downgrades: Time to Play Monday Morning Quarterback on Twitter

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

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Iran is sending a monkey into outer space. China just landed on the moon. And Spotify scaled its Stairway to Heaven. So why are stocks earthbound all of a sudden? US markets slumped for a second straight week and, in an extremely unusual development, the Dow Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) each dropped an identical 1.65%. Sympathy pains? Perhaps, but you won't find freshly-empathetic Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) complaining after it jumped 11.22%. Herbalife (NYSE:HLF), accused of being a pyramid scheme by Bill Ackman, cooled off 6.2% as snow spectacularly arrived on the Nile. Lawrence of Arabia, memorably played by the dearly departed Peter O'Toole, once said, "There may be honor among thieves, but there's none in politicians." This in a week when DC actually agreed on a budget deal, while convicted felon Martha Stewart (NYSE:MSO) saw her stock surge 22.86%. And in this, the season of comfort and joy, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) was named the happiest company in America. Though the poll was taken before its stock fell 4.1% in five days.

It's a relatively quiet day for quarterly earnings announcements that may move US stock markets, but FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) and L&L Energy (NASDAQ:LLEN) each release results.

AVEO Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AVEO): Shares are downgraded to Underperform from Perform at RBC Capital, which takes its target price to $2 from $5. The broker believes shares are likely to be range-bound, awaiting additional data on its tivozanib Phase II.

Con-way (NYSE:CNW): Deutsche Bank cuts Con-way to Hold from Buy. Its amended price objective is $45.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:JAZZ): The stock is now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP): Barclays lowers Leap Wireless stock to Equal Weight from Overweight although its objective, at $17, remains intact.

Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO): MOR gets moved to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Navistar (NYSE:NAV): Amid a more balanced imminent risk/reward ratio, Robert W. Baird reduces its rating to Neutral from Outperform.

Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN): Nielsen, an audience measurement outfit famous for its eponymous TV ratings, sees its stock taken to Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital Markets.

PNC Financial (NYSE:PNC): Shares get downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore, whose new target is $81.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): UBS adds its fellow financial firm to its Least Preferred list.

Semiconductor Stocks: Citing systemic personal computer industry changes, Oppenheimer inflicts rating reductions on Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) (Underperform from Perform), Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) (to Perform from Outperform), and Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS) (Underperform from Perform). As a result, the stocks are lower ahead of this morning's opening bell.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX): Shares are slashed to Equal Weight from Overweight at Stephens.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR): Back to reality for Twitter stock, which last week rose 31.26% to a record high. It is downgraded by both SunTrust Robinson Humphrey (Neutral from Buy), and Wells Fargo (Underperform from Market Perform.) Accordingly, the stock is currently slumping about 1.60% as I pen this piece.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Monster Beverage, Barbarian at the Gate of Your Portfolio, Begs to Be Let In and New Stock Coverage: Manpower Can Lift Mr. Market)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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