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Stock Downgrades: Fall Is Absolutely No Time to Go Apple Picking

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

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Stocks surged once more, with the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) hitting its highest level since September 28, 2000. (For some perspective, on that distant day Reuters began a futuristic feature article thus: "Imagine a world in which wristwatches also function as telephones and mobile phones have built-in cameras.") Industrials posted the best performance, paced by a 2.05% jump in General Electric (NYSE:GE), whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt took over from Jack Welch four days before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Elsewhere Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ:CROX), maker of colorful clogs, tumbled 2.02%. Flip-flops fared far better, however, with Sandy Weill changing his mind about his earlier change of heart. And there was no stopping those beloved babies of E*TRADE (NASDAQ:ETFC), which advanced another 3.58% to a price not seen since February 2011. Let's hope those Manhattan mommies, desperate to be seen shuffling their offspring around in a $1,129 Buffalo stroller, are long the stock.

Today in economics, analysts expect July wholesale inventories to post an improvement from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) and Vera Bradley (NASDAQ:VRA) are each expected to release results.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): Shares get downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse, and to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK): UBS cuts the company to Neutral from Buy. Its price objective is $280.

British Sky Broadcasting (OTCMKTS:BSYBY): Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Coldwater Creek (NASDAQ:CWTR): The stock, imploding 18% this morning, is taken to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Con Edison (NYSE:ED): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, which takes its target to $58 from $67.

HSBC Holdings (NYSE:HBC): The stock is lower in London this morning after being moved by JPMorgan to Neutral from Overweight amid concerns over its emerging markets exposure.

Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF): LGF gets lowered to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen.

PVH Corp (NYSE:PVH): The clothing company formerly known as Phillips Van Heusen is removed from the Focus List at Citigroup.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG): The consumer goods company, a key Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) member, gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust. Issues include inconsistent top line growth.

Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO): TTWO is slashed to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest primarily due to concerns regarding its comparatively bare pipeline.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Plundering Pirates Are Disappointed in Disney and Stock Upgrades: There's No Stopping Nokia.)

Disclosure: Minyanville has a business relationship with E*TRADE.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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