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Stock Downgrades: Time to Disown


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Those who dismissed the fiscal cliff as little more than Y2K redux enjoyed echoes of the irrationally exuberant late millennium stock market yesterday. Upbeat analyst comments on a money losing Internet outfit sent Facebook (FB) surging 8.09% and EntreMed (ENMD) - which once rose 330% on a single day in 1998 amid hopes it would cure cancer - jumped 24.46%.

And Dell Inc (DELL), the best stock of that entire decade, up a tidy 89,374%, climbed 4.14% in defiance of an otherwise down day. Aéropostale (ARO) fell 4.71% but if its check got lost in the mail fear not, for it will arrive eventually. And creamy spreads maker Smart Balance (SMBL) advanced 8.81%, which Brooklyn native Barbra Streisand - already enjoying net profits with her hometown basketball team - would no doubt describe as being "like buttah."

Today in economics, an increase is anticipated in the Conference Board's November consumer sentiment survey at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, results are expected out of ADT Corporation (ADT), Analog Devices (ADI), China Sunergy (CSUN), Guidewire Software (GWRE), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), PVH Corp. (PVH), and Ralcorp (RAH), which was bought by ConAgra (CAG) for about $5 billion earlier this morning.

Alexandria Real Estate (ARE): Amid a more conservative outlook for the company's pre-development pipeline, RBC Capital reduces its rating to Perform from Outperform and takes its price target to $68 from $77. (NASDAQ:ACOM): Shares get downgraded to Hold from Buy at The Benchmark Company after an offer to acquire the genealogy website was announced on in October. The broker says no competing bids have emerged and suggest investors focus on more attractive Internet opportunities elsewhere.

Atlas Air Worldwide (AAWW): The stock is downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital.

Baxter International (BAX): The medical device maker gets moved to Neutral from Buy with a $72 price objective at Mizuho, whose concerns include increasing competition facing the company's recombinant business.

Boston Scientific (BSX): Staying in the sector, Sanford Bernstein cuts BSX to Perform from Outperform amid ongoing market share losses in its major cardiology business. Its $6 target price is intact but analysts wrote in a note that "…we are stepping to the sidelines as we do not see further catalysts to the upside."

Cablevision (CVC): CVC gets cut to Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.

Kenexa (KNKA): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Piper Jaffray.

LG Display (LPL): Sanford Bernstein lowers LPL to Underperform from Market Perform on account of poor economic fundamentals in its core business.

McMoRan Exploration (MMR): MMR is moved to Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital, sending the stock lower ahead of this morning's opening bell.

National Oilwell Varco (NOV): NOV is now Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Pall Corp. (PLL): BB&T Capital cuts the company to Hold from Buy.

Pfizer (PFE): The Dow (^DJI) member is taken to Neutral from Buy at MKM Partners.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Crocs Kicks Into High Gear and Stock Upgrades: Yelp Stock a Screaming Buy?)
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