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Stock Downgrades: eBay's Attic Is Empty


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

village in the country shaped like a boot is currently for sale on eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), but today the online auctioneer is itself given the boot. It suffers a rating reduction due to soft sales trends and an overall absence of share-price catalysts. eBay and venerable hammer house Sotheby's (NYSE:BID) have just announced an updated joint venture agreement.
With Monty Python having just taken to the stage for the first time since 1980, an iconic John Cleese quote came back to haunt the stock market. "I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand," his hapless high school principal Brian Stimpson memorably opined in the movie Clockwise. So it was with Wall Street, whose recent optimism that peripheral Europe was over its economic woes proved hopelessly premature as Portugal's Espírito Santo (ELI:BES) imploded. Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) duly endured their worst week in a month as a result. Monty Python's lumber jack was indeed especially unfortunate, with an unloved Lumber Liquidators (NYSE:LL) tumbling 27.9% as it walked the vinyl plank on the trading floor. With the PIIGS starting to squeal again, Greece's main market posted Europe's poorest performance with a 7.9% slide. Switzerland, though it still slumped 2.33%, actually posted the continent's best showing. This, as Zurich's own UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) said Brazil's 7-1 shellacking at the cultured feet of Germany was both bad for its stocks and good for its economy. (Typical Swiss, trying to profit from both sides.) Some equities did buck a remorseless tide of red ink. Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK), faring far better than Nate Silver, surged some 14%. Shark Week broadcaster Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) showed that money -- much like sharks -- never sleeps, advancing 2.70% on a broker boost even as grown-ups paid big bucks for a slumber party beneath the blue whale. And ESPN's Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) -- slapped with a $10 million lawsuit by a baseball fan who nodded off on national television -- hit a historic high on Thursday.
It's a quiet day in economic data but the first full week of Q2 earnings announcements is upon us, with Citigroup (NYSE:C) having released results earlier this morning.
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features a movie studio and online travel outfit, plus headline stock eBay Inc.

Artisan Partners Asset Management (NYSE:APAM): Keefe Bruyette cuts the company to Market Perform from Outperform. Its target price, previously $69 is taken $10 lower.
Calamos Asset (NASDAQ:CLMS): Shares are moved to Underperform from Market Perform by Keefe Bruyette.
Dreamworks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA): The entertainment outfit is now Neutral from Buy at B. Riley & Co due to disappointing box office business for How to Train Your Dragon 2. The price objective is slashed to $25 from $32. Shares are lower today as a result.
eBay Inc.: Today's headline stock gets taken to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest.
NCI Building Systems (NYSE:NCS): NCS is now Perform from Outperform with a new $19 target price at RBC Capital.
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM): Shares get downgraded to Neutral from Strong Buy at ISI Group.
TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP): The stock is now Neutral from Buy at Nomura.
USG Corp (NYSE:USG): RBC Capital cuts the company to Perform from Outperform.
Visteon (NYSE:VC): Shares get downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.
Vulcan Materials (NYSE:VMC): The rating is reduced to Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital.
Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC): JPMorgan moves its fellow financial firm, fresh from announcing earnings, to Neutral from Overweight. Its target is also trimmed, to $52 from $54.50.
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Post-Apocalyptic San Francisco No Problem for Charles Schwab

Stock Upgrades: Analyst Polishes Up Apple
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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