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Stock Downgrades: Headaches Keep Coming for Skullcandy


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

On the anniversary of the Bonfire of the Vanities - the real one, not Tom Wolfe's one - Wall Street's egos once again went up in smoke. (Cigarette maker Philip Morris (PM) exempted itself from the overall malaise, its stock lighting up to the tune of 2.43%.) Markets ended down even as continuing unemployment claims fell to their lowest level since Bear Stearns went belly up in March 2008. The employee whose excuse for being late for work was that his car was attacked by a bear couldn't be reached for comment, but if such tardiness means he is now job-hunting it is clearly benefiting LinkedIn (LNKD), judging by this morning's surge in the stock.

A relatively light week on the economic calendar concludes with December wholesale inventories due to tick up at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. By contrast, it's been another frenzied five days for corporate earnings announcements, with some 17% of the S&P 500 (^GSPC) releasing results. Today's important announcements include AOL Inc. (AOL), Beacon Roofing Supply (BECN), Buckeye Partners (BPL), CBOE Holdings (CBOE), Louisiana-Pacific (LPX), Moody's (MCO), and Nissan Motor (PINK:NSANY).

Alpha Natural Resources (ANR): Troubled by both a lack of near-term catalysts and lower margins, CRT Capital cuts the coal company to Fair Value from Buy with an $8 price objective.

Gartner (IT): Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Ignite Restaurant Group (IRG): IRG gets downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James, which cites reduced guidance and the acquisition of Macaroni Grill. Its target price is also trimmed, by $2 to $15.

Nuance Communications (NUAN): The stock, sliding 17.56% before the bell, is now Hold from Buy at Needham, whose concerns include ongoing margin pressure.

PAA Natural Gas Storage (PNG): Valuation issues see the limited partnership lowered to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

Rémy Cointreau (PINK:REMYF): Deutsche Bank slashes the French alcohol outfit to Sell from Hold.

Riverbed Technology (RVBD): The RVBD rating is reduced to Neutral from Buy at Lazard Capital.

Skullcandy (NASDAQ:SKUL) Roth Capital cuts the stock, down 55.44% in the past year, to Neutral from Buy with a $7 price objective amid a CEO resignation and attendant uncertainty. Shares are slumping a further 11.35% in today's pre-market trading.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Dog Days Ahead at Central Garden & Pet? and Stock Upgrades: Stock Up on Activision Blizzard Ahead of Winter Storm.)
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