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Stock Downgrades: Even Kate Upton Can't Save Whirlpool


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

Brooklyn, why can't Mr. Market quit you, baby? Last week it was Janet Yellen, native of New York's most populous borough, who hogged headlines. Yesterday, stocks reeled from a last-hour bombshell about a business bigwig born in the hipster heaven. But enough about Maria Bartiromo. Carl Icahn's "very cautious" comments set off a late-session swoon, although not before the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) had earlier topped 16,000 for the first time in its history. Seventy-seven year old Uncle Carl thus does battle with callow youth sweet sixteen, with the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) trading at 16 times earnings and having just surpassed $16 trillion in market cap. CNBC's closing belle called it quits, but real women have bell curves. Well, Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) Melissa Mayer does, though her stock dropped 1.40% on a tough day for tech. Do you Yahoo? Not if you're Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), although killing its own bell curve brought no joy. It quickly ran out of cash, leading blue chip laggards with a 1.69% loss after getting downgraded by Kash Rangan of Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (NYSE:BAC).

There isn't any top-tier economic data due this morning. US markets, and specific stocks, may move on quarterly earnings announcements, however. Today's results are expected to include Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB), Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB), Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), TJX Cos (NYSE:TJX), Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL), and Valspar (NYSE:VAL).

Altera (NASDAQ:ALTR): Goldman Sachs removes the chip name from its Conviction Buy list.

HCP Inc (NYSE:HCP): Shares are slashed to Hold from Buy at Stifel due to a difficult industry backdrop.

PhotoMedex (NASDAQ:PHMD): Singular Research reduces its rating to Buy from Long-Term Buy. Its price objective is $19.50.

TCP Capital (NASDAQ:TCPC): TCPC gets taken to Hold from Buy with Wunderlich, whose new target price is $18.

Walgreen (NYSE:WAG): Walgreen is moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. Walgreen stock has recently traded atop historic highs.

Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR): Sorry, fellas. Whirlpool, founded by the great-grandfather of supermodel Kate Upton, is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. Iowa-based Whirlpool also owns Maytag.

Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ:ZION): Raymond James reduces its recommendation to Outperform from Strong Buy.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Pucker Up to Estee Lauder and Stock Upgrades: Ain't No Mountain High Enough for Vail Resorts)
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