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Stock Downgrades: Even Kate Upton Can't Save Whirlpool

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

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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)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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