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Stock Downgrades: Nobody Can Console Sony

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

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Dammit, Janet. Just as I was all set to write that the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is now down for 12 of its past 15 sessions, you go get nominated for Fed head and rescue stocks from their recent Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Although it should be noted that, amid the green ink elsewhere, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (NASDAQ:RMCF) fell 1.03%, presumably on fears she will shortly end the central bank's long-running sugar rush.) While one graybeard prepared for unemployment, we saw another endure posthumous pain as the Colonel's Kentucky Fried Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) slid an S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)-worst 6.76%, suffering some bare naked short selling amid ongoing Beijing blues. (Something to do with there not being enough customers for its Chickity China the Chinese chicken, apparently.)

Meredith Whitney, in the news again, "didn't return calls," but AT&T (NYSE:T), up a Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI)-best 1.93%, doesn't need her business. Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW), which this year bought bought Joseph Abboud for $97.5 million, jumped 27.78% to top the NYSE. This after rebuffing an unsolicited offer from Joseph A. Bank Clothiers (NASDAQ:JOSB), itself up 6.41%. There may be a musical in there somewhere.

Today's quarterly earnings announcements are due to include Farmer Brothers (NASDAQ:FARM), Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN), Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU), and Safeway (NYSE:SWY).

Aixtron (NASDAQ:AIXG): Shares are now Underweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA): Barclays reduces its rating to Underweight from Equal Weight.

Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS): Shares, tumbling 12% ahead of the open, are removed from JPMorgan's Conviction Buy List.

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK): The pharmaceutical giant gets downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Leapfrog (NYSE:LF): LF is lowered to Neutral from Buy at Ascendiant Capital Markets.

MAKO Surgical (NASDAQ:MAKO): Shares, no longer trading on fundamentals after a buyout bid, are now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RT): We can be heroes, just for one day? David Bowie had it about right. Shares, which surged 4.28% on Wednesday's broker boost, are imploding 11% this morning amid subsequent earnings angst. Adding to the agony, Raymond James reduces its rating to Underperform from Market Perform.

Sony (NYSE:SNE): The maker of PlayStation consoles gets slashed to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Green Is the New Black for Netflix and Stock Upgrades: PC Era Over? Hewlett-Packard Didn't Get the Memo.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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