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Stock Downgrades: Callaway Golf Stripped of Green Jacket

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

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An Italian stud named Zephir was just named the world's most fertile bull, having fathered 104 calves. Sorry buddy, but you still have nothing on this mother of all bull markets. The Dow (^DJI) and S&P 500 (^GSPC) each reached fresh peaks and if Nasdaq (^IXIC) didn't, well as Meat Loaf (no fan of bulls presumably, with a name like that) once said, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad. Tech suffered largely due to a downgrade of Microsoft (MSFT) by Heather Bellini. "What is your damage, Heather?" Well, Winona, it was a scarily symmetrical 4.44% by the end of trading. At least Saks Inc. (SKS), so beloved of Ms. Ryder, rose 0.50% to finish at a fresh 52-week peak, even if that means its shares are no longer such a steal. Ironically, on a terrible day for PC makers Xerox (XRX) - which would have owned the industry were it not for an identical act of theft from Steve Jobs - jumped 3.46% on a broker boost.

Today in economics, we get the University of Michigan's first take on April consumer confidence at 9:55 a.m. Eastern, with business inventories for February following at 10:00 a.m. On the earnings front, JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are the first big banks to report results this morning.

BAE Systems (PINL:BAESY) JPMorgan moves the military aviation maker to Underweight from Neutral amid issues over a reduction in its R&D (Research & Development) expenditure.

Callaway Golf (NYSE:ELY): In this, the week of the Masters, shares are downgraded to Perform from Strong Buy at Raymond James.

Laboratory Corp. (LH): LH is lowered to Hold from Buy at WallachBeth, whose target is $97.

Mastercard (MA): MA is moved to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee.

Rentokil (PINK:RTOKY): Shares in the world's largest pest-control company are sharply lower in today's London trading after being taken to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, which worries about its net debt levels.

Reed Elsevier (RUK): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Soft Drinks: Davenport gives Neutral-from-Buy downgrades to Dow member Coca-Cola (KO), as well as PepsiCo (PEP) and Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS).

Visa (V): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Rite Aid Is Right On and New Stock Coverage: Tata Motors Had Analyst at 'Hello.')
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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