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Stock Downgrades: Taser Suffers Stunning Setback


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Fiscal cliff, meet Jimmy Cliff. Shares jumped after Washington belatedly awoke to the wisdom of the jaunty Jamaican, who long ago concluded that "You can get it if you really want. But you must try, try and try. Try and try." Renewed efforts in our nation's capital to solve the coming calamity of tax hikes and spending cuts encouraged investors, with markets ending at session highs after President Obama said he hoped to conclude a deal by Christmas.

And in the spirit of the season - yes, Virginia, there is indeed a Santa Claus, at least if you're a tobacco company. Witness Richmond cigarette stock Altria (MO) advancing 0.78% even as the industry was confronted with yet another can of worms. From high tar to tar heels, BP Plc (BP) was another name to shrug off negative news, edging up 0.31% despite ongoing fallout from its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Today in economics, analysts expect October pending home sales to tick up at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Barnes & Noble (BKS), Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL), Kroger (KR), Pacific Sunwear of California (PSUN), Splunk (SPLK), Tiffany (TIF), Ulta Salon (ULTA), and Zumiez (ZUMZ) are all due to reveal results.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee, whose concerns include risks related to console transition.

British Sky Broadcasting (BSYBY): The media giant gets moved to Underperform from Perform at Jefferies.

Cree Inc. (CREE): CREE is cut to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

EZchip (EZCH): Chardan Capital slashes the stock to Sell from Hold due to a lack of capital expenditure by service providers on wireline projects.

Taser International (NASDAQ:TASR) The electroshock stun gun maker, up 54.72% over the past 12 months, is tumbling 2.88% before today's opening bell after getting taken to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Messing With Texas Instruments and Stock Upgrades: Bulls Run on Nike.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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