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Stock Downgrades: Procter & Gamble Is All Out of Luvs


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

Shares surged yet again in the sort of session only Occupy Wall Street, celebrating their second anniversary, could complain about. (Then again, for the organization to protest making money really would be a bit rich.) The Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) hit a new 13-year high, paced by a 25.11% gain in double-chin drug maker Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KYTH) because, well, Anjelica Huston, we have a problem.

With all eyes on the imminent end of the good ship QE, Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) rose for a remarkable - and record-breaking - 13th successive session. This as Carnival Corporation's (NYSE:CCL) Costa Concordia emerged at last from its watery depths. In analyst action, Franklin Covey (NYSE:FC), of Seven Habits fame, jumped 6.32% on a broker boost, and Fifth Third (NASDAQ:FITB) was at sixes and sevens after a rating reduction.

Today the Federal Open Market Committee concludes its two-day policy setting meeting in Washington, DC, with an interest rate announcement expected at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Ben Bernanke is due to host a press conference at 2:30 p.m. In corporate earnings action, Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL), FedEx (NYSE:FDX), General Mills (NYSE:GIS), Manchester United (NYSE:MANU), and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) are all slated to release results.

Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI): UBS lowers the lighting name to Neutral from Buy.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT): The company, a key Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) component, is reduced to Neutral from Buy at Robert W. Baird. Issues in both mining and earth moving equipment are likely to be an overhang, the bank believes.

Consumer Stocks: Barclays cuts Clorox (NYSE:CLX) to Underweight from Equal Weight and inflicts an Equal Weight-from-Overweight rating reduction on Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), the Dow member whose ubiquitous brands include Charmin, Gillette, and Luvs. P&G's shares are treading water until the company produces a quicker growth rate.

Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ:RDEN): B. Riley & Co cuts the cosmetics company to Neutral from Buy.

Exelon (NYSE:EXC): RBC Capital Markets moves the nuclear power play to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU): The TurboTax owner is taken to Underweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

James River Coal (NASDAQ:JRCC): The commodity company gets moved to Underweight from Hold by BB&T Capital Markets.

Joy Global (NYSE:JOY): Robert W. Baird gives JOY a Neutral-from-Buy downgrade, trimming its target price by $2 to $55 amid ongoing uncertainty in Latin America.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Sprint Stuck in the Starting Blocks and Stock Upgrades: Tilly's Is a Teenage Dream.)
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