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Stock Downgrades: The Party's Over for Tupperware

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

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Dow Industrials (^DJI) rose to records amid an employment report that was more "pleasant surprise" than "stunning." After all, 125,000 monthly jobs must be added merely to keep pace with population growth and how robust can the recovery really be when the Department of Labor hasn't yet hired its head?

Clocks went forward yesterday, but Cher was more on the money in asking if she could "turn back time." (With Botox maker Allergan (AGN) hitting the highest level in its entire history on Wednesday, the answer incidentally is yes.) In echoes of the Internet bubble, Ciena (CIEN) stock surged 16%, turning back the clock to 2000…and 1999, and 1998, and 1997.

And yes, you can have too many cooks. An ailing Thomas Cook (TCKGY) imploded 8.2% on Friday while over at unloved Apple Inc. (AAPL), Tim Cook's troubles show no signs of ending after another ratings reduction this morning.

No top-tier economic data due today but corporate earnings announcements are expected out of Casey's General Stores (CASY), Diamond Foods (DMND), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

Adobe Systems (ADBE): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Altera (ALTR): UBS reduces its rating to Neutral from Buy amid slowing share gains and heightened competition from Xilinx (XLNX), among other issues. Its target price is $36.

Apple (AAPL): Crédit Agricole cuts the tech titan to Outperform from Buy on account of lower iPhone sales and a softer iPad mix. The price objective, previously $575, is now $505.

Bayer (PINK:BAYRY): The stock needs an aspirin itself today, trading lower in London after being pulled from Citigroup's Focus List Europe of favored equities.

Coal Companies: Peabody Energy (BTU) and Walter Energy (WLT) are each now Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets.

Choice Hotels International (CHH): FBR Capital moves the accommodation outfit to Market Perform from Outperform due to concerns relating to a travel slowdown arising out of sequestration. The new target is $40.

CTC Media (CTCM): Credit Suisse cuts CTCM to Neutral from Underperform.

General Electric (GE): The Dow (^DJI) member is moved to Neutral from Buy at Nomura.

Intuit (INTU): The TurboTax owner is taken to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Kroger (KR): The grocer gets downgraded to Long-Term Buy from Buy at Hilliard Lyons, whose analyst wrote in a note
that 2013 earnings "will face a difficult comparison" with last year's growth.

Merck KGaA (PINK:MKGAY): Germany's Merck - not to be confused with the American Dow (^DJI) component - is slashed to Sell from Hold at Société Générale after recent share price strength.

Mylan (MYL): An excessive valuation and absence of upcoming catalysts sees the generic drug giant cut to Hold from Buy at Canaccord, whose intact price objective is $33.

NVIDIA (NVDA): NVDA is now Negative from Neutral at Susquehanna.

Royal KPN (PINK:KKPNY): The company gets cut to Reduce from Neutral at Nomura.

Swiss Re (PINK:SSREY): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Tupperware (NYSE:TUP): Morgan Stanley moves the stock, which hit a fresh 12-month peak last week, to Underweight from Equal-Weight.

Veolia Environnement (VE): Goldman Sachs slashes the stock to Neutral from Buy, sending it sharply lower in Europe today.

Westpac Banking (WBK): Shares are downgraded to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Jazz Pharmaceuticals Going for a Song and Stock Upgrades: Citigroup Paints the Town Red.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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