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Stock Downgrades: Calgon About to Take a Bath?

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

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Sixteen of 17 markets in Europe fell, Shanghai slumped for a sixth straight session, and indices in Japan breached a two-month trough. Yet here in America, the Dow (^DJI) rolled inexorably on, rebounding mightily around midday to end essentially at session highs. You could say, then, that decoupling was the order of the day. It certainly was in Moscow, notwithstanding that the last name in weddings opened its first Red Square outlet this week. So much for "From Russia With Love."

Should a newly-solo Putin be feeling low, a Keurig single cup may perk him up. Especially after its owner Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) gained 2.65% on a broker boost. Actually, the seriously sinister ex-KGB chief strikes me as more of a vodka and nicotine kind of guy. Apropos of the latter, Joe Camel maker Reynolds American (RAI) just announced it is getting into the e-cigarette game. Although, unlike its past products, presumably this one doesn't carry a doctor's approval.

Today in economics, analysts expect an expansion in April consumer credit at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, look for results from Daqo New Energy (DQ) and Mobile TeleSystems (MBT).

Alpha Natural Resources (ANR): ANR is now Underperform from Outperform at Raymond James.

Calgon Carbon (NYSE:CCC): The stock may get soaked today, its stress amped up by a valuation-based cut to Neutral from Outperform by Robert W. Baird.

Chemtura (CHMT): A combination of flat earnings and a surging stock sees Oppenheimer reset its rating to Underperform from Perform.

Insulet (PODD): Shares are taken to Hold from Buy with a $28 price objective at Wunderlich. Although hopes are high for its next-generation OmniPod insulin pump, the stock has already appreciated substantially of late.

Intel (INTC): The semiconductor stock, a key Dow (^DJI) component, is sliding 1.01% as I write after getting cut to Underweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray. The broker would take profits after a strong recent run, especially in light of systemic issues in its underlying personal computer end market.

Iron Mountain (IRM): Stifel slashes the stock, nose-diving 9% before the bell, to Hold from Buy amid REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) conversion concerns.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM): The blue chip is taken to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.

Mannkind (MNKD): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch moves the biopharmaceutical firm to Neutral from Buy.

MercadoLibre (MELI): The Buenos Aires-based online marketplace, often dubbed "Latin America's eBay Inc. (EBAY)", is now Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Peabody Energy (BTU): The coal company is cut to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

rue21 (RUE): Jefferies reduces RUE to Hold from Buy.

Sprint Nextel (S): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Nomura.

VMware (VMW): The tech stock gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Drexel Hamilton.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Garmin Suddenly Finds Itself Back in Favor and Stock Upgrades: France Likes What It Sees in Lululemon.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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