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Stock Downgrades: Plastic Not Fantastic for American Express


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Festive green was the order of the day, with shares surging for a second straight session amid a welcome uptick in trading volume. Holly Energy Partners (HEP) jumped 4.07%, adding to the Yuletide spirit, and getting a lump of coal in Santa's stocking no longer seems so bad after the IEA said the fossil fuel is full of energy. Knight Capital (KCG), up 8.11% before the bell, is one Silent Night going for a song this Christmas. Shanghai travel firm International (CTRP) rose 4.66% on an analyst upgrade but there was no comment from a man in China who arrived at an airport wearing 70 items of clothing to save on baggage fees.

It's quite a light day in economic data, but quarterly earnings announcements are expected out of Accenture (ACN), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), FedEx (FDX), General Mills (GIS), Jabil Circuit (JBL), Navistar (NAV), and Paychex (PAYX).

American Express (NYSE:AXP): The charge card company, a key Dow (^DJI) component, is cut to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore.

BJ's Restaurants (BJRI): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform with Wedbush.

Chubb (CB): CB gets cut to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Compuware (CPWR): Shares are downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Northland Securities.

General Electric (GE): The stock is removed from Key Call list at UBS, citing the impact of an uncertain macro environment impact on earnings.

H&R Block (HRB): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Compass Point, whose new price target is $18.50. Headwinds include the risk of an unpredictable tax season.

SandRidge Energy (SD): SD is downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Smith & Wesson (SWHC): Shares are downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Cowen.

Wells Fargo (WFC): The stock gets downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Charles Schwab Making Money Talk and Stock Upgrades: Panera Bread Rolling in Dough.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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