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Stock Downgrades: Dunkin' Bull Run Done?


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

Five short months into 2013, the planet's best performing stock market of 2012 literally can't afford to wipe its backside. So investors may eventually give our own bull run the bum's rush. For now, however, let's just marvel at how far - 146%, to be precise - we have come from the Haines bottom. (Not to be confused with Hanesbrands (HBI), an underwear stock that is now up 102.82% in the past year, having finished at a fresh historic high on Friday.) A new iPad commode will be scant consolation for both Caracas and Cupertino, especially after Apple Inc. (AAPL) imploded 4.4% in a week when the Nasdaq (^IXIC) added on another 1.82% to finish at its best level since 2000. 13 years ago Sisqó - whose briefs would make anyone blush - topped the pop charts and Cisco (CSCO) briefly boasted the world's best market cap. 13 years on, the former remains firmly a one-hit wonder but the latter, fresh from jumping a Dow (^DJI) best 14.9%, may have more staying power.

No top-tier economic data due today, but earnings announcements are expected out of Campbell Soup (CPB), Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHU), Ryanair (OTCMKTS:RYAAY), TiVo Inc. (TIVO), and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

Acquity Group (AQ): Shares gets downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair.

Bank of America (BAC): The blue chip, a key Dow (^DJI) component, is cut to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette, which would take profits after a recent breakout to new highs.

Bank of Ireland (IRE): Deutsche Bank downgrades its fellow financial to Sell from Hold.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): Shares are taken to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Capella Education (CPLA): Stifel reduces its recommendation to Hold from Buy.

CarMax (KMX): The auto outfit gets cut to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair.

Cavium Networks (CAVM): CAVM is now Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

Children's Place (PLCE): Susquehanna reduces the retailer to Neutral from Positive.

Financials: Keefe moves money manager BlackRock (BLK) to Market Perform from Outperform and downgrades discount brokers Charles Schwab (SCHW) and TD Ameritrade (AMTD) to Underperform from Market Perform.

Dunkin' Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN): The donut stock is lowered to Neutral from Buy at Longbow. Shares, which have surged 33.84% over the past year and hit a fresh peak last week, are due a breather. The stock is, accordingly, off 1.3% this morning.

Equifax (EFX): Shares get downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Fast Food: Chili's owner Brinker International (EAT) and Ruby Tuesday (RT) are each reduced to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Kansas City Southern (KSU): The railroad is slashed to Sell from Hold at Stifel.

Leap Wireless (LEAP): LEAP gets lowered to Sell from Hold by Deutsche Bank.

Lowe's (LOW): A steep valuation, allied to store execution issues, sees Oppenheimer reduce the home improvement retailer to Perform from Outperform.

MicroStrategy (MSTR): JMP Securities moves the tech stock to Market Perform from Outperform.

NetApp (NTAP): NTAP is now Underperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which cites both competitive and structural issues.

Red Hat (RHT): RHT gets reduced to Market Perform from Outperform with a $54 price objective at BMO Capital Markets. Sharp recent stock price gains, especially amid softness in many key metrics, are unsustainable the broker believes.

SanDisk (SNDK): The stock is clipped to Neutral from Buy at Nomura.

Synovus (SNV): Goldman Sachs slashes its fellow financial firm to Sell from Neutral.

Thoratec (THOR): THOR gets taken to Neutral from Buy at Goldman.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Priceline Is Going Places and New Stock Coverage: MusclePharm Can Bulk Up Your Portfolio.)
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