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Stock Downgrades: St. Jude Medical Loses Another Disciple


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Christine Lagarde of the IMF, who recently warned us that the endless saga in Athens "ain't over until the fat lady sings", was proved right, as Greece's lenders have just embarked on yet another debt deal delay. Still with Prestige Brands (PBH), which makes Luden's cough drops and Chloraseptic sore throat remedies, rising 4.50% to within a whisker of a fresh 52-week peak, the corpulent lassie is hopefully getting ready to at least clear her throat.

A ratings reduction sent Intel (INTC) sliding 3.64%, this after CEO Paul Otellini said he would retire at 62 instead of the mandatory 65. What does he think he is - European? Not that we in America can afford to be too complacent, a reminder of which came with the sad passing of budget expert Warren Rudman. When the deficit reducing bill that bears his name was introduced in the mid-1980s, our tide of Federal red ink stood at a now positively quaint negative $221 billion. It has since surpassed $16,126,958,144,611 literally as we speak.

It's a relatively busy morning in economics ahead of tomorrow's market close. The University of Michigan's final figure for November consumer confidence is out at 9:55 a.m. Eastern, and October leading indicators arrive at 10:00 a.m. Corporate earnings are expected out of China Resources Enterprise (CRHKY), Deere (DE), and Donaldson (DCI).

America Móvil (AMX): The Mexican telecom titan is taken to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup, which cited expectations for increased competition and regulatory changes in 2013. The target is also trimmed by $5, to $25.

Commerce Bancshares (CBSH): Shares are cut to Underweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Eaton Vance (EV): EV gets slashed to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup.

HeartWare (HTWR): The stock is lower ahead of the open after being moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ): The Dow (^DJI) member, down 11.95% yesterday, is today taken to Underperform from Neutral at Mizuho and to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital, which wrote in a note that "[its] impaired balance sheet will make it tougher to invest in other avenues of growth."

Hormel Foods (HRL): Crédit Agricole cuts the Spam maker, which hit lifetime highs this week, to Underperform from Outperform due to an excessive valuation. Its price target is $32.

Inergy Midstream (NRGM): Shares are now Outperform from Perform at Robert W. Baird.

K+S Aktiengesellschaft (KPLUF): JPMorgan cuts the German fertilizer company to Underweight from Equal Weight.

St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) The medical device maker gets moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo. Today's New York Times makes mention of officials finding flaws in its oversight of a heart device component.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Feast on Yum Brands Before Thanksgiving and Stock Upgrades: Skechers Has Fresh Spring in Its Step.)
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