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Stock Downgrades: Boeing About to Crash


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

Dow Industrials (^DJI) snapped a five-day winning streak, dragged down by beleaguered Boeing (BA), as the World Bank cut its global growth forecast. (An organization lead by a rapper really should know better for, as giant-of-the-genre Puff Daddy declared, It's All About the Benjamins.)

Winemaker Constellation Brands (STZ) put in a celestial showing, surging 6.15% to a fresh peak on a bullish Buy initiation. As Cassius said of the debt ceiling in Julius Caesar, Act 1, scene 2: "Default, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves." (I quote from memory, after having a few too many of the company's Robert Mondavi malbecs.) Hamlet, at the end of Act 1, scene 4, featured the famous line by Marcellus, "Something is rotten in the State of Denmark," but I'm sure he meant to say "Nothing is rotten with Apple (AAPL), per Tom DeMark."

As we shall soon see, Shakespeare was certainly right on the money when he cryptically slipped Boeing's stock symbol into English literature's most celebrated soliloquy. "To BA, or not to BA - that is the question," adding "what grounded Dreamliner 787s may come" back to haunt the aerospace outfit.

Today in economics, the Philadelphia Fed Index for January is expected to cool off from the previous month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. The cavalcade of quarterly earnings announcements continues, with American Express (AXP), ASML Holding (ASML), BB&T Corporation (BBT), Bank of America (BAC), BlackRock (BLK), Capital One Financial (COF), Citigroup (C), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), and Intel (INTC) all due to release results.

A.M. Castle (CAS): Davenport lowers the metal fabrication name to Neutral from Buy.

Bank of New York Mellon (BK): Troubled by continued NIM (Net Interest Margin) pressure and lower fee revenues, RBC Capital takes the financial firm to Perform from Outperform and trims its target to $26 from $28.

Boeing (NYSE:BA): Shares in the Dow member, tumbling a further 2.26% before this morning's opening bell, are downgraded to Underweight from Hold at BB&T Capital.

Cisco Systems (CSCO): JPMorgan cuts the Dow component to Underweight from Neutral.

Columbia Sportswear (COLM): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers its rating by an unusual 180 degrees, to Underperform from Buy, sending shares sharply lower before the bell.

Commodity Companies: Anglo American (PINK:AAUKY) is now Underperform from Neutral at BNP Paribas, which cuts Xstrata (PINK:XSRAY) to Neutral from Outperform.

Corning (GLW): The glass giant gets downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital, whose concerns include a lack of near-term growth drivers. The target is trimmed by $1, to $14.

Goldman Sachs (GS): Sandler O'Neill gives the bank, trading at its highest level since May 2011, a Hold-from-Buy ratings reduction. Recent share strength and macro uncertainty are cited, although its price objective is actually increased to $147.

Leap Wireless (LEAP): LEAP is lowered to Underperform from Hold.

Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN): JPMorgan moves MJN to Neutral from Overweight.

Progressive (PGR): The insurance outfit is now Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Regal-Beloit (RBC): Oppenheimer reduces its recommendation to Perform from Outperform with a fresh price objective of $78. In its view, the risk/reward ratio is now roughly in balance.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN): Shares are taken to Hold from Buy by Brean Capital.

SAP AG (SAP): Citigroup downgrades the German enterprise software giant to Neutral from Buy.

VIVUS Inc. (VVUS): The producer of a popular diet drug is slashed to Sell from Hold at Brean Capital amid a steep valuation and lowered Qsymia estimates.

Waters Corp. (WAT): WAT gets cut to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM): The Pottery Barn owner is now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Yum Brands (YUM): The Taco Bell and Pizza Hut owner gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, which is concerned about a further slowdown in China.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: CBS Eyes Huge Gains and New Stock Coverage: Which Fertilizer Stocks Pass The Smell Test?)
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