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Stock Downgrades: Foot Locker, Inc. Kicked to the Curb


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

Equities rose for the first time all week on 8/8, as China's infatuation with that number once again proved lucky. Shares snapped a three-session slump after Beijing reported better-than-expected trade figures. Commodities rose right on cue, with copper hitting a two-month high as it became scarily evident the lengths people will go to get their hands on the metal. Good retail sales here at home also boosted bourses, with Victoria's Secret owner L Brands (LTD) advancing 5.15% to a fresh best, even as its Namibian supermodel shuns a product she is paid handsomely to endorse. Elon Musk, from nearby South Africa, saw his Tesla Motors (TSLA) surge 14.34% as the electric car company announced the Department of Energy's loan sharks had been paid off nine years early. Alas the London Whale continues to bedevil JPMorgan (JPM), down a Dow (^DJI)-worst 0.85% for its fifth straight skid. The biggest fish in the ocean is, however, currently a Karp.

Today in economics, June wholesale inventories are predicted to pick up from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, expect Arkansas Best (ABFS), Beacon Roofing Supply (BECN), Harvest Natural Resources (HNR), Sterling Construction (STRL), and Whitewave Foods (WWAV) to report results.

Deere (DE): UBS slashes the tractor titan to Sell from Neutral.

DeVry (DV): The education outfit is now Neutral from Buy at Compass Point, which also takes its target price down by $7 to $28. Weak student demand is an issue.

Diana Shipping (DSX): JPMorgan takes the tanker name to Neutral from Underweight.

Foot Locker, Inc. (FL): Citing slowing same-store sales growth, Goldman Sachs gives the stock a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade. The stock is, accordingly, tumbling about 2% as I write.

Gap Inc. (GHS): The khaki king gets cut to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

inContact (SAAS): Shares are now Hold from Buy at The Benchmark Company after Q2 revenues failed to meet consensus estimates.

Leap Wireless (LEAP): LEAP is lowered to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Linn Energy (LINE): Citing acquisition risk and another disappointing quarter, Oppenheimer reduces its investment assessment to Underperform from Perform with a $23 target.

Medical Properties Trust (MPW): MPW is moved to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital Markets.

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (MACK): Cowen cuts the small cap company to Market Perform from Outperform.

Orbitz (OWW): The online travel outfit is now Neutral from Buy at Lazard. Valuation issues understandably loom large after yesterday's 36.73% surge in the stock.

Suburban Propane (SPH): Shares get downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Credit Suisse.

SunEdison (SUNE): Ardour Capital slashes the stock to Hold from Buy with an amended price objective of $8 amid concerns over its liquidity constraints.

Transocean (RIG): The oil services name gets taken to Neutral from Buy at Global Hunter Securities.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Prepares to Party Like a Rockstar and Stock Upgrades: Cisco Systems, Inc. Is on the Right Route)
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