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Stock Downgrades: Flock of Analysts Flip the Bird at Twitter

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

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You have to feel for our friends in Athens. Just as the longtime economic basket case improbably gets its act together, the US economy hits an air pocket, China's growth slows, emerging markets implode, and Tokyo's Nikkei Index (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) officially enters correction territory. Thus did the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) end lower for the third time in four sessions, even as the National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) jumped another 5.15%, and did so despite the steepest slide in eurozone retail sales since January 2002. (The very month that Germany ditched its beloved Deutschmark in favor of the common currency. Who's sorry now?) Staying on the continent, pride of Copenhagen and diabetes pioneer Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) rose 3.71% to hit a historic best, so we will forgive you for preposterously getting into bed with Paula Deen, that lifelong purveyor of high-calorie cooking. Clearly, to slightly misquote Hamlet, "Something is rotten in the state of DeMark." Meanwhile Match.com owner IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) fell 5.53% after investors belatedly realized it takes but ten bucks to win a date with George Clooney. Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL) lost 5.54% even as its longtime spokeswoman was forced to wag her finger and adamantly attest, "I did not have sexual relations with that man." 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), a recent momentum darling, dropped 15.39%, so we may soon have to live without its critically important offerings. Like, uh, a NASA-funded 3-D printer. Your tax dollars at work, folks. And CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) failed to kick butt, ending off 1.01% after announcing it intends to stop tobacco products sales. Miley Cyrus got there first on a certain social networking platform, so at least someone is still using Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).

Today's earnings announcements are due to include AOL Inc (NYSE:AOL), Dunkin Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN), General Motors (NYSE:GM), Kellogg (NYSE:K), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA), Nu Skin (NYSE:NUS), Sanofi (NYSE:SNY), and Sony (NYSE:SNE).

Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML): SunTrust takes the tech name to Neutral from Buy.

Banco Santander Mexico (NYSE:BSMX): Shares are moved to Underweight from Equal Weight by Barclays.

China Petroleum (NYSE:SNP): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers its investment opinion to Underperform from Neutral.

Ford (NYSE:F): The car company gets cut to Hold from Buy at Argus.

Homebuilders: Meritage (NYSE:MTH) gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, which removes Ryland Group (NYSE:RYL) from its Conviction Buy list.

Pike Corp (NYSE:PIKE): Saying that its stock is already adequately valued, Stifel slashes the electric utility to Hold from Buy. Shares are, accordingly, falling before the opening bell.

SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA): Shares get downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc amid increased competition after Green Mountain's (NASDAQ:GMCR) link up with Coca Cola (NYSE:KO).

Syngenta (NYSE:SYT): The chemical name is moved to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill.

Tupperware Brands (NYSE:TUP): TUP gets taken to Market Perform from Outperform at First Global.

Twitter: Saying that its stock is too expensive after the company's earnings announcement revealed slowing user growth, UBS slashes this slumping social networking name to Sell from Neutral. Its price objective, previously $45, is now $42. Birds of a feather -- Atlantic Equities (Underweight from Neutral), Sterne Agee (Underperform from Neutral), and Stifel (Hold from Buy) similarly add to the agony in the best after-the-fact tradition of equity analysts, for shares are already sliding some 21.57%.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Nielsen Wins Big in the Ratings

Stock Upgrades: H&M Won't Lose Its Shirt With David Beckham
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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