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Stock Downgrades: Bitter Pill for Vitamin Shoppe


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

And on the eighth day, stocks rested. The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) slipped for the first time in September, snapping a seven-session winning streak on a day only H.L. Mencken could love. The bard of Baltimore, whose birthday was September 12, was no fan of finance, caustically calling Wall Street "a thoroughfare that begins in a graveyard and ends in a river." The church associated with said graveyard is actually the Street's most reliable money-making machine, thanks to a $2 billion gift from Queen Anne of England. It's the rivers that are currently causing problems. Or, more accurately, other bodies of water. Fresh from Coldwater Creek's (NASDAQ:CWTR) 29.93% tumble on Wednesday, streaming issues saw Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) sink 2.24% 24 hours on. At least Disney (NYSE:DIS) doesn't need the Caribbean Ocean, with the company gaining 2.42% to best all blue chips. Moving from Jack Sparrow to Jack Dorsey, Twitter's bluebird is about to become very rich. Not to be outdone, Red Robin (NASDAQ:RRGB) rose 0.87% to an all-time high.

Today in economics, the preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan September consumer sentiment survey is out at 9:55 a.m. Eastern, and July business inventories follow at 10:00 a.m. On the corporate front, Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR) is the pick of quarterly earnings announcements.

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU): The telecom stock is taken to Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital Markets.

Brady Corp (NASDAQ:BRC): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform with a $33 target price at Robert W. Baird, which cites operational challenges.

Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX): The stock gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Harmony Gold Mining (NYSE:HMY): Goldman Sachs cuts the commodity company to Sell from Neutral.

Oil Services: Sanford Bernstein inflicts Market Perform-from-Outperform ratings reductions on Ensco (NYSE:ESV), Noble Corp (NYSE:NE), and Transocean (NYSE:RIG).

Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA): Shares are moved to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, which also trims its price objective by $2 to $43.

Under Armour (NYSE:UA): The athletic apparel name is now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Vitamin Shoppe (NYSE:VSI): Sterne Agee slashes the stock to Neutral from Buy.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Verizon Is Moving On Uptown and New Stock Coverage: Urban Outfitters Boosted by Socks and the City.)
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