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Stock Downgrades: Mattel Not Worth the Fisher-Price?


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

Futures this morning suggest that recent records in equities may soon be a thing of the past, but yesterday at least stocks enjoyed another impressive session. And if the market action wasn't exactly riveting, compared to the historic gyrations that occurred exactly 13 years previously, boring is good.

Yesterday also represented the most important date the history of Microsoft (MSFT), although it turned out to be a decidedly unhappy anniversary. For a while, Bill Gates was a nerd who inherited the Earth, but now it's the Geek Squad who are suddenly too cool for school, with Best Buy (BBY) jumping 16.07% to lead all S&P 500 (^GSPC) issues.

For the first 17 years of the company's existence, it actually answered to the name Sound of Music. Doe, a deer, a female deer? Fine and dandy, but don't forget the dough boys of Panera Bread (PNRA), making a buck or two and ending at the highest level in its history following a a broker boost.

This afternoon in economics, analysts expect February consumer credit to contract from the previous month's pace at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. There are no major earnings announcements to end the week, but Monday ushers in the unofficial start of quarterly reporting season when Alcoa (AA) releases results.

CoreSite Realty (COR): Pointing to slowing growth amid heightened competition, Cantor Fitzgerald slashes the stock to Sell from Hold.

Evercore (EVR): Keefe Bruyette cuts the company to Market Perform from Outperform.

F5 Networks (FFIV): Shares, skidding some 17% before the bell on a negative earnings pre-announcement, is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Juniper Networks (JNPR): Barclays takes the tech stock to Equal Weight from Overweight, sending it down sharply this morning.

Kimberly-Clark (KMB): The Kleenex company is taken to Underperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT): KeyBanc moves the toy titan, whose brands include Barbie, Fisher-Price, and Matchbox, to Hold from Buy. Shares, up 27.74% in the past year, touched a fresh 52-week peak on Tuesday and as a result the valuation has become relatively rich.

Mortgage REITs: Jefferies reduces Real Estate Investment Trusts MFA Financial (MFA) and Western Asset Mortgage (WMC) to Hold from Buy.

National American University Holdings (NAUH): The educator is moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Rigel Pharmaceuticals (RIGL): RIGL gets reduced to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital.

Terex (TEX): TEX is taken to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Vitran (VTNC): Cowen cuts the freight transportation stock to Hold from Buy after the unexpected departure of the Chief Executive Officer.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: There's No Place Like 'Home' for Facebook and Stock Upgrades: Fast Money Makes a Run on JPMorgan Chase.)
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