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Stock Downgrades: Apple Gets Totally Turned Over

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

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Not even an erroneous Associated Press tweet of bombs at the White House could derail the Dow (^DJI), which rose for its 15th straight Tuesday, an event that last occurred in 1927 when Murderers' Row swept all before them for the Bronx Bombers. Bronx born Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs (GS), fresh from cashing his $21 million blank check, preached the necessity of austerity before hosting a confab of billionaires at Yankee Stadium.

SeaWorld's (SEAS) Shamu, who saw his stock skyrocket in an IPO last week, was yesterday joined by the burping seals of Tupperware (TUP), which gained 2.13% to the highest level in its history. Netflix (NFLX), up 24.44% to top the entire S&P 500 (^GSPC) similarly loves swimming upstream. (March of the Penguins is already proving especially popular on its website today, with Apple Inc. (AAPL) having just seen its price target cut by analysts at BMO Capital, Citigroup (C), Credit Suisse (CS), Deutsche Bank (DB), Janney, JPMorgan (JPM), Nomura…

Hump Day of peak earnings week is upon us with Aflac (AFL), Barclays (BCS), Boeing (BA), Credit Suisse (CS), Eli Lilly (LLY), Ford (F), France Telecom (FTE), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Nintendo (NTDOY), Procter & Gamble (PG), Sprint Nextel (S), Qualcomm (QCOM), and Zynga (ZNGA) among a multitude of companies releasing results.

Amgen (AMGN): The world's biggest biotech is now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray, which says its valuation is stretched after a recent run to record highs.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:APPL): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital Markets following Tuesday's release of its fiscal Q2 results. The troubled stock, initially up after announcing earnings, is now tumbling 3.24% in today's pre-market trading as I write.

Associated British Foods (PINK:ASBFY): We already knew that the French don't think much of English cuisine, and today Société Générale slashes the stock to Sell from Hold.

AT&T Inc. (T): The telecom titan, a key Dow (^DJI) component, is cut to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup after its earnings announcement. Tablet users, an increasingly important customer base, tend to pay lower fees than cell phone subscribers.

DeVry (DV): Deutsche Bank downgrades the education outfit to Hold from Buy.

Dice Holdings (DHX): DHX gets downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair.

Discover Financial Services (DFS): With late payments having fallen to a record low, Jefferies cuts the credit card company to Hold from Buy.

Edwards Lifesciences (EW): The stock is lowered to Neutral from Buy at Lazard Capital.

Flushing Financial (FFIC): FBR Capital takes the firm to Market Perform from Outperform and trims its price target to $17 from $18.50 amid increasing loan pricing pressure.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX): Amid copper price softness, Argus cuts the commodity company to Hold from Buy.

Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (IRWD): Morgan Stanley moves IRWD to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

Theravance (THRX): Shares are now Market Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein.

Ventas (VTR): The health care Real Estate Investment Trust is taken to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Vocus (VOCS): FBR Capital cuts the company to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital, halving its target price to $12 in the process. Legacy business weakness remains a real concern, the broker believes.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Bulls Run on Matador Resources and Stock Upgrades: Red Robin a Far Better Bet Than Twitter)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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