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Stock Downgrades: Fifth Third Is at Sixes and Sevens


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

Sunday, which caused investors no end of angst in 2008, showed a far more benign side five years on, with markets surging on Monday, thanks to Larry Summers' exit 24 hours earlier. (Alas, the appropriately named fictional financial reporter Sloan Sabbith wasn't around to see it, having signed off on another season of The Newsroom on the Sabbath.)

Among stocks on the move, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell a further 3.18%. Last week, life imitated art a little too literally for the Cupertino company, as its 6.7% slide eerily echoed the punk opening weekend performance of a film about Steve Jobs. The Squibb and the Whale might make a better movie, with Bristol-Myers (NYSE:BMY) advancing 3.63% after being boosted by JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), whose aquatic angst in England shows no signs of abating.

Today in Washington, DC, the Federal Open Market Committee starts its two-day policy meeting on interest rates. In earnings action, Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE), Coty Inc. (NYSE:COTY), FactSet Research Systems (NYSE:FDS), and Prada (OTCMKTS:PRDSY) are all expected to release results.

Big 5 Sporting Goods (NASDAQ:BGFV): The stock is now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Extra Space Storage (NYSE:EXR): Goldman Sachs downgrades shares to Buy from Conviction Buy.

Food Stocks: ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) gets cut to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, which moves Kellogg (NYSE:K) to Underweight from Neutral.

Glencore Xstrata (LON:GLEN): Shares in the commodity company are sharply lower in today's London trading on a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade at UBS.

IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI): RBC Capital Markets moves the owner of to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Regional Banks: Goldman Sachs gives Neutral-from-Buy downgrades to EverBank Financial (NYSE:EVER) (price target taken to $16.50 from $18) and Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB), which is clearly now at sixes and sevens and trading lower before the opening bell. Meanwhile, National Bank (NYSE:NBHC) gets slashed to Sell from Buy.

Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS): The British financial firm is reduced to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Steven Madden (NASDAQ:SHOO): Wedbush slashes the shoe stock to Neutral from Outperform.

Werner Enterprises (NASDAQ:WERN): KeyBanc Capital takes the trucking titan to Hold from Buy.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Church & Dwight Provides Portfolio Protection and New Stock Coverage: 3D Systems Second to None.)
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