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Stock Downgrades: Red Ink at Red Hat

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

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Michael Bloomberg may have seen his ban on big sweetened beverages suffer a setback, but Wall Street's sugar rush, visible from the steps of City Hall, will presumably prove ample consolation for the billionaire mayor. Investors' cups continue to runneth over, with the glass - and Glass-Steagall - still half full for Sandy Weill, whose former firm Citigroup (C) rode bullish research to rise 1.97% and finish at a fresh multi-year peak.

While the Dow (^DJI) was rising to its fifth straight record, Microsoft (MSFT) continued to languish and has now tumbled 12.88% in the past 12 months. Forget software and instead invest in Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH), which just jumped 12.69%.

Monday's worst blue chip was General Electric (GE), this on the day its CEO saw his pay surge 20% to $25.8 million. Yesterday's top S&P 500 (^GSPC) stock? That would be Genworth Financial (GNW), which gained 6.71% to fill GE with regrets for ever spinning it off. Nice to know Mr. Market hasn't lost his dry humor.

It's another quite quiet day in economic data, but corporate earnings announcements are due to include Bon-Ton Stores (BONT), China Mobile (CHL), Costco (COST), Dole Food (DOLE), Stage Stores (SSI), and Uranium Energy (UEC).

Agrium (AGU): BMO Capital moves the agricultural chemicals maker to Market Perform from Outperform.

América Móvil (AMX): The Mexican telecom titan controlled by world's richest man Carlos Slim is today taken to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Brookdale Senior Living (BKD): The long-term care company is now Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Cadence Design (CDNS): Shares get downgraded to Neutral from Buy at DA Davidson.

Cisco Systems (CSCO): The Dow (^DJI) component is reduced to Hold from Buy at Standpoint Research.

CVS Caremark (CVS): Goldman Sachs cuts CVS to Neutral from Buy with an intact target price of $57. Concerns include slowing EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes) trends.

Infosys (INFY): The Indian Information Technology outsourcer is taken to Negative from Neutral at Susquehanna, which is troubled by both a lofty valuation and excessive expectations. Its price objective is $38.

Millicom International (PINK:MIICF): The cellular stock is now Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities

PVH Corp. (PVH): Piper Jaffray cuts the clothing firm, formerly known as Phillips-Van Heusen, to Neutral from Overweight with a $127 target. Merger doldrums from its acquisition of Warnaco are an issue.

RadioShack (RSH): Goldman slashes the stock, up 6.42% on Monday, to Sell from Neutral due to its dependence on a slowing wireless category. Its objective is also reduced, to $2.75 from $2.95. RSH is sharply lower ahead of the opening bell as a result.

Red Hat (NYSE:RHT): Citing slowing growth and an overall absence of catalysts, Citigroup takes the tech name to Neutral from Buy. Its price objective, previously $64, is now $56.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Vitamin Shoppe Can Afford to Buy a Vowel and New Stock Coverage: Champagne Still on Ice at LVMH Moet Hennessy.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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