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Stock Downgrades: Yahoo Definitely Not Partying Like It's 1999

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

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Those Sunnyvale salad days of December 1999, a single month in which Silicon Valley icon Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) saw its equity price astonishingly double, now seem but a distant dream. Shares subsequently hit a historic high of $475 only three days into the millennium, but yesterday its stock closed at a scant split-adjusted $35.61. Shares are sliding another 2.25% even as we speak, this after Q2 earnings came in below consensus estimates. Adding to the agony, display revenue imploded 8% and revenues tumbled 2.9% on an annual basis.
 
If Andy Samberg will forgive the phrase so soon after being eschewed at the Emmys, stocks were rocked by a bad case of Brooklyn Nein-Nein. Bubble fears from Janet Yellen, born in the borough, and an unexpected slide in German investor sentiment sent shares mostly lower, although Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) did eke out an infinitesimal increase. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) wasn't as lucky after the Fed head characterized social media valuations as "substantially stretched." No one saw such a statement coming, not even that clairvoyant engineer in São Paulo who last week posted on Facebook (NASDAQ:FBhis eerily accurate prediction that Brazil would lose 7-1 to Germany before the game began. As a result of Ms. Yellen's Internet valuation concerns, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) -- up earlier on a rating increase -- eventually ended off 1.12%. But what does she know? After all, the Fed didn't even sign up for the micro-blogging service until March of 2012, fully nine months after Lindsay Lohan took to the site to write an extremely cogent analysis of our central bank's fiscal folly. Elsewhere GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) gained a Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC)-best 13.00% on a broker boost. This, only 24 hours after enduring a bear scare by falling 5.15% on Monday. (The photo firm probably even made money on that animal, however.) And in this, the summer of the shark, fish and chips were the way to go. "London Whale" JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), up 3.52%, and "great vampire squid" Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), a 1.30% gainer, were the best two blue chips on the day. Semiconductor stock Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) already enjoys that honor for all of 2014, and its stock, surging another 5.01% even as we speak, shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
 
Today in economics, the Fed releases its Beige Book detailing regional financial conditions in a dozen districts at 2:00 p.m. EDT. On the earnings front, Hump Day of a peak week for quarterly announcements is already upon us. Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), and Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) all release results.
 
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch featuring a chocolate icon and handbag company, plus headline equity Yahoo.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY): The confectionery king is now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
 
IMAX Corp (NYSE:IMAX): Piper Jaffray cuts the movie stock to Neutral from Overweight.
 
Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS): The recently slumping handbag maker gets moved to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair.
 
Nationstar Mortgage (NSYE:NSM): NSM is now Underperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo.
 
Potash (NYSE:POT): TD Securities takes the fertilizer firm to Hold from Buy.
 
Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST): ROST is reduced to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee. Its price objective, previously $81, is clipped to $68.
 
RSA Insurance (OTCMKTS:RSNAY): UBS slashes the stock to Sell from Neutral.
 
Yahoo: Today's headline stock gets downgraded to Fair Value from Buy at CRT Capital.
 
ZipRealty (NASDAQ:ZIPR): Lake Street lowers the equity to Hold from Buy.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Apple, With Apologies to  IBM, Parties Like It's 1984

Stock Upgrades: Intel Parties Like It's 1997
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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