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Stock Downgrades: Groupon Is Thursday's Disaster du Jour


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

On February 27, 1964, the Italian government leaned on the outside world for help. On February 27, 2013, investors concluded the mother country doesn't need any assistance, even as Papa John's (PZZA), purveyor of its national dish, nosedived 9.14%. Shares subsequently surged, with Dollar Tree (DLTR) jumping 10.49% to top the S&P 500 (^GSPC), even as infamous tree poisoner Lamar Advertising (LAMR) added on 4.22% to finish at a fresh 52-week peak.

Elsewhere Bill Ackman really needs to get an Herbalife (HLF). While his favorite short gained 3.63%, JC Penney (JCP), which the hedge fund manager continues to defend to the death, is some sliding 16.78% before the opening bell.

Today in economics, analysts expect a slight slippage in the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for February at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Ahold (PINK:AHONY), Barnes & Noble (BKS), Cablevision (CVC), Deckers (DECK), Gap (GPS), Iron Mountain (IRM), Kohl's (KSS), Molycorp (MCP), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and Sears Holdings (SHLD) are all due to report results.

Adtran (ADTN): Shares are taken to Equal Weight from Overweight with an intact price target of $25 at Stephens.

Boston Beer (SAM): A steep share price valuation sees the brewing outfit downgraded to Hold from Buy at Williams Capital.

BroadSoft (BSFT): Mizuho moves the equity to Neutral from Buy on account of disappointing guidance, growth, and leverage.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): The British pharmaceutical firm is slashed to Underweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN): The daily deal web site, whose shares are tumbling 26.45% before the opening bell, gets downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James among a multitude of other ratings reductions this morning. Issues include an altered business model in the wake of its earnings release.

HEICO (HEI): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Riverbed Technology (RVBS): Sterne Agee reduces its rating to Neutral from Buy, sending the stock skidding 4.13% in today's pre-market trading.

Saks Inc. (SKS): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Underweight from Equal Weight with a $10 target on account of increased SG&A (Selling, General and Administrative Expenses), among other concerns.

STAAR Surgical (STAA): STAA is slashed to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair, which is troubled with its reduced outlook and excessive valuation following the fourth quarter earnings announcement.

UBS AG (UBS): Keefe Bruyette cuts the Swiss banking behemoth to Market Perform from Outperform.

Vitamin Shoppe (VSI): Shares are lowered to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Time to PayPal Around With eBay and Stock Upgrades: The Earth Just Moved for Joy Global.)
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