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Stock Downgrades: Analyst Walks All Over Crocs, Inc.


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

Mercury and markets both headed inexorably higher in Manhattan, with triple-digit days in each helping to send red-hot stocks to new records even as citizens sweltered. The Dow (^DJI) hit historic peaks after Ben Bernanke offered to be "accommodative" even as he called the recent rise in interest "unwelcome." This feel-good factor even extended across the Atlantic, with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) rallying an impressive 11%. Native son Andy Murray just taught the English how it's done by winning Wimbledon, but yesterday it was the turn of London-based bank Barclays (BCS) to return the compliment. It outfitted the freshly crowned British open winner, who claimed golf's oldest prize with a stunning final round near Edinburgh's fabled Firth of Forth. A bridge over that river, in an almost-too-apt metaphor for Europe's endless exercise in financial futility, famously took 120 years to be painted. Sherwin-Williams (SHW), fresh from tumbling 10.13%, clearly failed to win any of that business. And finance ministers meeting in Moscow pledged to de-emphasize austerity. They were obviously inspired by Russia's largest company, which just ordered a $3.7 million tablet computer for its CEO. What would comrade Marx say about that?

This morning in economics, June existing home sales are expected to tick up from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Peak week for Q2 earnings reports is upon us, with today's quarterly announcements expected to include Crane Company (CR), Gannett (GCI), Halliburton (HAL), Hasbro (HAS), Kimberly-Clark (KMB), McDonald's (MCD), Netflix (NFLX), Royal Philips (PHG), Six Flags (SIX), Texas Instruments (TXN), UBS AG (UBS), and Zions Bancorporation (ZION).

American National Bankshares (AMNB): The financial firm sees its rating reduced to Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

CGI Group (GIB): Goldman Sachs gives GIB a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade.

Crocs, Inc. (CROX): The maker of colorful plastic clogs is cut to Neutral from Outperform with Wedbush.

Juniper Networks (JNPR): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

H&R Block (HRB): The tax name is now Neutral from Buy at BTIG.

Honeywell (HON): Nomura cuts the industrial conglomerate to Neutral from Buy.

LinnCo (LNCO): LNCO is lowered to Neutral from Outperform by Robert W. Baird as recent strength has left shares somewhat stretched, in its estimation.

Nokia (NOK): Oppenheimer takes the telecom name to Underperform from Perform. Issues include accelerating smartphone competition and increased interest expenses.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX): The company, subject of recent takeover talk, is lowered to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

TD Ameritrade (AMTD): The discount broker gets downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital.

Towers Watson (TW): Deutsche Bank downgrades the equity to Hold from Buy.

V.F. Corp (VFC): The maker of JanSport backpacks and North Face jackets is lowered to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Tremor Video Inc All Set to Shake Things Up and Stock Upgrades: American Campus Communities, Inc. Is Kicking It Old School.)
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