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Stock Downgrades: Bed Bath & Beyond Sleeps With the Fishes

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

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That newspaper Bill Gates was seen tossing away in Omaha over the weekend was surely the Financial Times, for an article in its pages yesterday sent Microsoft (MSFT) slumping 1.30% to post the worst performance of all blue chips. It certainly couldn't have been last year's Barron's Dow (^DJI) 15,000 cover, for yesterday the index finally closed above that milestone.

Elsewhere Manchester United (MANU) shirt sponsor Aon PLC (AON) hit the highest level in its history on the eve of this morning's news that the soccer side's iconic manager is calling it quits after over a quarter century of service. He took over in 1986, the year a sexy new stock called Microsoft went public.

A quiet week for economic releases rolls on, with no top-tier data due. In earnings action, AOL Inc. (AOL), Deutsche Telekom (PINK:DTEGY), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), Groupon (GRPN), News Corporation (NWSA), Sodastream (SODA), Tesla Motors (TSLA), Telefónica (TEF), and Wendy's (WEN) are all expected to report results.

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY): Shares are cut to Cautious from Neutral at ISI Group.

CA Technologies (CA): The stock is downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer, which sees slower revenue and earnings growth ahead.

Comerica (CMA): Shares are now Underperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, whose target is $33.

Crestwood Midstream Partners (CMLP): The stock is now Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Douglas Dynamics (PLOW): Shares get cut to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, which is troubled by ongoing demand uncertainty.

Emerson Electric (EMR): The industrial outfit is moved to Market Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein.

IDEX Corp (IEX): Citigroup slashes the stock to Neutral from Buy.

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Add at Numus.

J. Sainsbury plc (PINK:JSAIY): The British grocer gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Panmure.

Mondelez International (MDLZ): Crédit Agricole cuts the company, whose brands include Oreo, Nabisco, Cadbury, and Trident, to Underperform from Outperform.

Time Warner Telecom (TWTC): Shares are taken to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer on slower EBITDA growth.

ValueClick (VCLK): The stock is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Cantor Fitzgerald amid a weaker outlook.

Vitamin Shoppe (VSI): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the equity to Underperform from Neutral, sending it down more than 1% ahead of the open.

Zillow (Z): Goldman Sachs gives the online real estate outfit, now Neutral from Buy, a post-earnings downgrade.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Spirit Airlines All Set to Levitate and Stock Upgrades: Time to Stop Blowing Raspberries at Lululemon?)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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