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Stock Downgrades: Legg Mason, Inc. Carried Out Feet First

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

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"Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks."

So went a delightful little ditty from 1953. Alas, riots in Istanbul have now become the world's business, and yesterday combined with a widening wall of woe elsewhere to send the Dow (^DJI) down by triple-digits.

Tuesday was, until last week, Wall Street's most reliable money-making machine but in Athens it has always been considered unlucky. (Something to do with Constantinople, apparently.) Truth be told, we must move from the banks of the Bosporus to an equally exotic capital 2,060 miles to the west to find out why the market really slumped. In the immortal uttering of Casablanca, money managers and hedge fund heavies - those innocent naïfs - were "shocked, shocked" that the perpetually zombie economy of Japan should once more fail to rouse itself to action.

A disowned Lululemon (LULU) lost 17.54%, shaving some $600 million from the bank balance of its founder Chip Wilson. Misery clearly loved company, for the chips also fell hard at semiconductor stock Texas Instruments (TXN), which tumbled 3.71%. And educator Corinthian Colleges (COCO) definitely didn't Win Ben Stein's Money after imploding 11.83% on news that the SEC is demanding it turn over records on student attendance. Is Bueller in the building?

It's another day without any top-tier economic data, but H&R Block (HRB), Men's Wearhouse (MW), and PVH Corp. (PVH) are all expected to announce earnings.

Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Dean Foods Co (DF): Sanford Bernstein downgrades America's largest dairy producer to Perform from Outperform with a $12 price target. Issues include upcoming volume declines.

Fiat S.p.A. (ADR) (FIATY): The Italian car company is now Neutral from Buy at UBS.

KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp (KS): KS gets cut to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank after an exceptionally strong recent run.

Kinross Gold Corporation (USA) (KGC): Cowen moves the commodity company to Market Perform from Outperform.

Legg Mason, Inc. (LM): The stock is tumbling 2.2% this morning after getting slashed to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

U.S. Bancorp (USB): Shares are now Underweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities.

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC): Atlantic slashes the stock to Underweight from Neutral.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Bob Evans Farms Inc Brings Home the Bacon and Stock Upgrades: Say 'Cheers' to Boston Beer Co Inc.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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