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Stock Downgrades: No Indian Summer at Apache Corporation

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

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Much like the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and its butchered Benjamins, investors found it awfully hard to make money. The Dow (^DJI) tumbled 2.23% in enduring its worst week since June 2012 although, as ever, some equities advanced impressively amid the wreckage. Long-shunned Apple Inc. (AAPL), up 11% to again climb above $500, suddenly finds itself back in vogue. As, elsewhere in Silicon Valley, does
Yahoo's (YHOO) Marissa Mayer. Although, reclining on her well-manicured lawn and admiring herself on an iPad may not send quite the right message about hard work. Fellow tech firm Cisco Systems (CSCO) slumped 6.8% after announcing 4,000 of its erstwhile employees will now have more time to loaf around in the manner of Ms. Mayer. (Although it was the firing of but a single person that attracted infinitely more attention for AOL Inc. (AOL). Maybe Joseph Stalin was on to something in saying, "When one person dies, it's a tragedy, but when a million people die, it's a statistic.") And J.C. Penney (JCP) jumped 4.1% after dispensing with William Ackman, for whom the final straw was learning about the hiring of ex-Kraft (KRFT) marketing guru Debra Berman via a news release on his Bloomberg. Compared to some of the recent taunting staring out from his terminal, that was small surely potatoes.

There isn't any top-tier economic data due today, but earnings announcements are expected out of Bob Evans Farms (BOBE), Cellcom Israel (CEL), and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

Apache Corporation (APA): With events in Cairo, and the resultant risk to Suez Canal oil supplies, a constant concern, Stifel slashes the energy stock to Hold from Buy. Egypt represents fully 19% of the company's production.

Cablevision Systems (CVC): The broadcasting name is now Neutral from Buy at Nomura.

First Majestic Silver (AG): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen due to a relatively rich valuation.

First Marblehead (FMD): Citing potential risk of an audit, Compass Point cuts the company to Neutral from Buy. Its price objective, previously $2.00, gets taken to $1.25.

Halcon Resources (HK): Stifel cuts the company to Hold from Buy on account of an increased share count and reduced 2014 outlook.

Holcim Ltd. (HCMLY): The Swiss stock, which is the world's biggest cement maker, is tumbling about 2% in today's European trading on a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade at UBS. The bank believes earnings will come under pressure.

Riverbed Technology (RVBD): RVBD gets reduced to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

Southwestern Energy (SWN): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital Markets.

Trulia (TRLA): RBC Capital Markets cuts the online real estate outfit to Sector Perform from Outperform, sending it slumping some 6.5% as I write.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Will Today's Trading Be Murder on Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.? and Stock Upgrades: Intel Corporation Tries to Rise From Silicon Valley to Mountain Top.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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