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Stock Downgrades: St. Jude Medical No Miracle Worker

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

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The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rebounded from last week's mauling on Monday, and has now reversed itself for a record 13 straight sessions. This after Dow Industrials (^DJI) similarly oscillated, ending up after a swing of 115.68 points. Such vacillation was no way to honor Margaret Thatcher, who didn't do indecision.

"You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning" was one of her most memorable phrases. Words that JC Penney (JCP), initially up 11% after hours only to implode 8% before the bell, would do well to live by after reversing itself by bringing back Mike Ullman as CEO. Elsewhere supermarket stock Supervalu (SVU) surged 3.54%, a fitting tribute to a prime minister whose father was a greengrocer.

Today in 10:00 a.m. Eastern economics, we get reports on both February job openings and wholesale inventories. On the earnings front, A. Schulman (SHLM) and Zep, Inc. (ZEP) have each already released results this morning.

Abiomed (ABMD): Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Adecco (PINK: AHEXY): The Swiss staffing company is slumping in today's European trading after being taken to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse. Its analysts wrote in a note that "increasingly challenging macro conditions in Europe" are a concern.

Alumina (AWC): The commodity company gets downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Bank of Hawaii (BOH): RBC Capital reduces its recommendation to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Calamos Asset Management (CLMS): Keefe Bruyette cuts CLMS to Underperform from Market Perform.

Concur Technologies (CNQR): Shares are taken to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer, which worries about a slowdown in Q2 hiring trends among other issues.

Lufkin Industries (LUFK): Shares, no longer trading on fundamentals following yesterday's 37.59% surge after being bought by General Electric (GE) for $3.1 billion, get lowered to Sell from Buy.

Nobel Biocare (PINK:NBHGY): HSBC Securities slashes the stock to Underweight from Neutral.

Patterson Companies (PDCO): The oil services outfit is now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Protective Life (PL): Raymond James reduces its rating to Outperform from Strong Buy.

St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ): The medical device maker, named after the patron saint of hopeless cases, gets moved to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital, which frets about upcoming market share slippage in its key cardio defibrillator market.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Don't Look at Luxottica Through Rose-Tinted Glasses and Stock Upgrades: Dot Hill Sitting on a Cash Mountain.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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