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Stock Downgrades: Scotts Miracle-Gro Not Hitting Pay Dirt

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

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Wall Street's old saw "Sell in May and go away" cut no ice with investors this year, perhaps not surprising since tool titan Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) was just taken down a notch. Dow Industrials (^DJI) advanced a lucky 21 points and are poised to round out a surprisingly strong month.

Some stocks did buck a broadly higher tape, however. Alcoa (AA) was the worst performing blue chip, dropping 1.05% after Moody's (MCO) - which rated Enron investment grade until essentially the bitter end - cut the company to junk. Pig processor Smithfield Foods (SFD) gave back 1.83% as an analyst, on the birthday of Porky Pig, decided "That's all folks!", opting to cut the shares after the prior session's 28.42% surge.

Conversely Facebook (FB) - whose CEO could always work in a hog abattoir if this social networking thing doesn't take off - rose an impressive 5.27% on a ratings increase.

This morning in economics, analysts expect improvements in the May Chicago Purchasing Managers' index at 9:45 a.m. Eastern and this month's University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey at 9:55 a.m. On the corporate front, Genesco (GCO) and Graham Corporation (GHM) are the pick of a quiet day for earnings announcements.

Aon PLC (AON): The insurance outfit is cut to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette due to valuation issues.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the financial firm to Neutral from Buy.

Charles River Laboratories (CRL): The stock gets lowered to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Mellanox Techologies (MLNX): Shares are taken to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Myriad Genetics (MYGN): Jefferies cuts the company to Hold from Buy.

Panera Bread (PNRA): Lazard lowers the stock, which traded at an all-time high yesterday, to Neutral from Buy.

Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG): A plump Price:Earnings multiple sees BMO Capital reduce its rating to Underperform from Market Perform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Tiffany Boosted by the Bling Ring and Stock Upgrades: There's No Place Like HomeAway)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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