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Stock Downgrades: McGraw-Hill Has Mountain to Climb

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

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In a session that should have been all about the Benjamins, Wall Street's recently reliable money making machine suddenly ground to a halt. On an otherwise desultory day for the Dow (^DJI), Microsoft (MSFT) did gain 3.79%, as a bunch of German jocks proved far more proficient with PowerPoint that a couple of Harvard economists just did with Excel.

Mr. Softie, of course, instituted dividends years ago; a penny for its thoughts as an utterly unloved Apple Inc. (AAPL) (Steve Jobs of Bill Gates: "He just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas") apes it by becoming a dividend play. And a day after Twitter's hacked bluebird temporary grounded stocks, Red Robin (RRGB) rose 2.92% on an analyst upgrade and Boeing (BA) hit a half-decade high. Pity none of us can fly at the moment.

The single busiest day of earnings season has arrived with Amazon (AMZN), AstraZeneca (AZN), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Coca-Cola (KO), ConocoPhillips (COP), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Gazprom (PINK: OGZPY), JetBlue Airways (JBLU), Starbucks (SBUX), and United Parcel Service (UPS) all due to report results.

Air Products (APD): Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at Atlantic Equities.

Buckeye Technologies (BKI): RBC Capital reduces its recommendation to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR): FBC Capital cuts the company to Underperform from Perform, trimming its target price by $2 to $56 in the process. First quarter results were weaker than expected amid NIM (Net Interest Margin) pressure.

First Solar (FSLR): Yesterday's top S&P 500 (^GSPC) stock is today lowered to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Hatteras Financial (HTS): The residential Real Estate Investment Trust gets moved to Market Perform from Outperform by Keefe Bruyette.

Interface (TILE): Raymond James takes TILE to Market Perform from Outperform.

Intuit (INTU): The TurboTax owner is downgraded by both Citigroup (Neutral from Buy) and JPMorgan (Neutral from Overweight.)

McGraw-Hill (NYSE:MHP): Jefferies reduces the Standard & Poor's ratings agency owner to Hold from Buy.

Mellanox Technologies (MLNX): Shares are moved to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho, which notes a troubling lack of catalysts and uncertain visibility regarding large deals.

Noranda Aluminum (NOR): NOR is now Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

SEI Investments (SEIC): Keefe Bruyette cuts the asset management company to Market Perform from Outperform.

TC Pipelines (TCP): TCP gets taken to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

T. Rowe Price Group (TROW): Shares are now Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Valley National (VLY): Keefe Bruyette reduces the regional bank to Underperform from Market Perform.

VMware (VMW): The tech stock is taken to Underperform from Market Perform by Sanford Bernstein, one of several downgrades this morning.

Western Digital (WDC): Brokerage boutique Craig-Hallum downgrades WDC to Hold from Buy.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Sink Your Teeth Into Diamondback Energy and Stock Upgrades: Yesterday's Mutiny Provides Bounty for P&G Shareholders.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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