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Stock Downgrades: Time to Disown Almost Family Inc


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

What's good for Wall Street may be not be so stellar for Main (or Sesame, for that matter) but encouraging employment data saw the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) score its strongest three-session streak since the start of the year.

Across the Atlantic, European Union officials ended seven hours of emergency talks at about 1:30 a.m., after which they agreed to assist failing banks. This will be news to National Bank of Greece (NBG), which tumbled 23.04% to a lifetime low in propping up the entire NYSE.

Elsewhere, brick and mortar bookseller Barnes & Noble (BKS) fell a further 3.77% but English majors everywhere wept even more at developments at its online counterpart Amazon (AMZN). There is a disgraced celebrity with a shaky grasp on grammar sits atop its bestseller list. No wonder a school textbook maker may be about to enter the scariest chapter of all.

Today in economics, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for May is out at 9:45 a.m. Eastern, followed by June's final University of Michigan consumer confidence figure at 9:55 a.m. In earnings action, AZZ incorporated (AZZ), Emmis Communications (EMMS), Finish Line (FINL), Research In Motion (BBRY), and Shaw Communications (SJR) are all set to release results.

Accenture Plc (ACN): Shares, imploding about 8% this morning after a third-quarter revenue miss, are moved to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Almost Family Inc (AFAM): The home health care provider is now Underperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird, which says potential reductions in Medicare reimbursement represents a major negative.

BAE Systems PLC (BAESY): Deutsche Bank downgrades the stock to Hold from Buy.

Heineken N.V. (HINKY): The brewing giant based in Holland gets cut to Reduce from Neutral at Nomura, sending it tumbling about 3% in today's European trading. Issues include increasing emerging market softness and heightened currency concerns.

Owens Corning (OC): Citigroup cuts the bottle maker, up sharply yesterday, to Neutral from Buy.

T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (TROW): Shares are taken to Hold from Buy at Sandler O'Neill.

Williams Partners L.P. (WPZ): Credit Suisse lowers the limited partnership to Neutral from Outperform.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Answer Is Blowing in the Wind at American Superconductor Corporation and Stock Upgrades: High Fives for F5 Networks, Inc.)
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