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Stock Downgrades: Target Corporation Is in the Crosshairs


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

It was the sort of session only David Rosenberg could love. He may see a Rosie scenario amid another day of carnage in the Dow (^DJI), but most investors can't wait for August to end. (The influential Canadian economist has a perma-bear reputation, but you would too if your first day working on Wall Street was Monday, October 19, 1987.) Staples (SPLS), we feel your Bain as that stock dropped an S&P 500-worst (^GSPC) 15.29%. An upgraded Garmin (GRMN) topped the index with a 4.76% advance on high hopes for its fancy new satellite navigation offerings. Elsewhere Chesapeake Energy (CHK), whose ex-CEO was more partial to $12 million antique maps, ended lower on a ratings reduction. And Goldman Sachs (GS) suffered a potentially multimillion-dollar "programming error." Might the bank like to bring back the programmer it recently helped put in prison? As the old expression goes, often a change is as good as arrest.

Today in economics, consensus calls for an increase in The Conference Board's July leading indicators index at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Aéropostale (ARO), Autodesk (ADSK), China Zenix Auto (ZX), Dollar Tree (DLTR), GameStop (GME), Gap Inc.(GPS), Gold Fields (GFI), Hormel Foods (HRL), Marvell Technology (MRVL), Pandora Media (P), Patterson Companies (PDCO), Ross Stores (ROST), and Sears Holdings (SHLD) are all due to report results.

CRH Plc. (CRH): The cement stock gets slashed to Sell from Hold at Société Générale.

H.B. Fuller (FUL): Longbow lowers the specialty chemicals company to Underperform from Neutral.

John Wood Group (WDGJF): The British engineering outfit gets downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities.

NII Holdings (NIHD): Morgan Stanley moves the wireless communications company to Underweight from Equal-Weight.

Target Corporation (TGT): Triple trouble for the retailer, which slumped 3.61% on Wednesday after its Q2 earnings announcement. Today it is taken to Buy from Strong Buy at ISI Group, Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital, and Underperform from Market Perform by William Blair.

Telecom Italia (TI): Société Générale cuts the company to Hold from Buy.

Vanguard Health Systems (VHS): Shares are reduced to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital Markets.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Time to Hit the Brakes on Tesla Motors Inc? and Stock Upgrades: If It's Thursday, Microsoft Corporation Must Be Back in Favor.)
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