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Stock Downgrades: Red Hat Inc Goes Cap in Hand

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

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It felt fitting that an upgraded Groupon (GRPN) jumped 10.23% last week, for the market overall reduced many investors to coupon-clipping penury. Shares slumped as a global trail of tears extended from Tokyo to Istanbul, whose customs officials have happily maintained an enduring faith in unicorns amid a crisis in the capital's central square.

Media stocks outperformed, among them Iowa's Meredith Corp. (MDP), which advanced an impressive 8.66%. That'll teach Time Inc's Manhattan media snobs not to drag their heels at a move to the Hawkeye State. (To be fair, Time Warner Cable (TWC) was an even bigger hit in the Big Apple, ending up 9.48% on the week.)

'Angry Orchard' Apple cider sent Boston Beer (SAM) surging 5.79%. Alas Apple Inc. (AAPL) didn't fare anything like as well. It imploded another 3.31% and - really rubbing it in - a film about its founder was delayed to the box office waste land of August.

American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC): Barclays takes the stock to Equal Weight from Overweight.

ARM Holdings plc (ADR) (ARMH): The key Apple supplier is now Reduce from Hold at Numis.

Associated British Foods plc (ASBFY): Shares are nose-diving more than 3% in today's London trading after Nomura lowered its rating to Reduce from Neutral.

Chevron Corporation (CVX): The oil giant, a key Dow (^DJI) component, gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies. Issues regarding its FCF (Free Cash Flow) growth are cited.

Health Management Associates Inc (HMA): The stock is now Neutral from Buy with an amended price objective of $17 at Mizuho, which says a sale of the company is currently a remote prospect. A lack of visibility regarding Medicaid expansion is an additional cause for concern.

Infinera Corp. (INFN): Jefferies lowers its rating to Hold from Buy.

MICROS Systems, Inc. (MCRS): Compass Point cuts the company to Neutral from Buy with a $45 target price amid competition and macroeconomic issues.

Red Hat Inc (RHT): Shares are now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC): A steep valuation after last week's stock surge sees Raymond James reduce its rating to Perform from Outperform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Tesla Motors Inc Is in The Driver's Seat and Stock Upgrades: Find Room in Your Portfolio for Extra Space Storage, Inc.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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