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Stock Downgrades: Today's Takedown of Tesla Motors Inc Looks Like Road Kill

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

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It's just as well Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser cancelled his scheduled speech yesterday, for the pronouncements of his fellow members have sent the market scurrying for cover this week. Shares slumped for a third straight day; much more of this and investors will have to reassess the Obama bounce in equities since 2009. Indeed it was a day to forget for the president. A noted BlackBerry (BBRY) addict, he saw that troubled stock slump a further 3.76%. Freddie Mac (FMCC), fresh from being criticized by our Commander in Chief, gained 1.43% after announcing it made $5 million for 12 weeks of government work. And a disowned Zillow (Z) slid 7.69% on the very day it rolled out the red carpet for Barack. (In the interests of being "fair and balanced," so to speak, it would be remiss of me not to point out that Mitt's diss of Tesla Motors (TSLA) looks more ill-advised than ever this morning.)

Today's corporate earnings announcements are expected to include Annie's (BNNY), Beam Inc. (BEAM), Commerzbank (CRZBY), Dean Foods (DF), Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY), Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF), Nestlé (NSRGY), Noodles & Co (NDLS), Nvidia (NVDA), Priceline.com (PCLN), Rio Tinto (RIO), and T-Mobile (TMUS).

Alere (ALR): Boutique brokerage Craig Hallum slashes the medical outfit, which fell 4.32% yesterday, to Sell from Hold.

Cablevision (CVC): Shares are moved to Neutral from Buy at Macquarie.

Carlyle Group (CG): The limited partnership is lowered to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Crocs Inc. (CROX): Sterne Agee cuts the maker of colorful plastic clogs to Underperform from Neutral.

Fusion-io (FIO): Mizuho moves the stock to Neutral from Buy, simultaneously slashing its price objective by $9 to $13. Increased competition and margin deterioration are dual concerns. Shares are in free-fall this morning.

Gold Stocks: AngloGold (AU), Harmony Gold (HMY), and Sibanye Gold (SBGL) are all downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.

Iron Mountain (IRM): The stock is cut to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays.

Limelight Networks (LWN): Raymond James lowers LWN to Underperform from Market Perform.

MakeMyTrip (MMYT): The travel stock is taken to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest.

Nanosphere (NSPH): Roth Capital reduces the stock, which slid a Nasdaq (^IXIC)-worst 29.11% yesterday, to Neutral from Buy.

Oasis Petroleum (OAS): Shares are lowered to Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.

Polo Ralph Lauren (RL): The clothing company, which endured an earnings-related 8.64% implosion on Wednesday, gets moved to Buy from Strong Buy at ISI Group this morning.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A): Morgan Stanley reduces moves the oil stock to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

Stanley Black & Decker (SWK): Shares get cut to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc Capital.

Target (TGT): The retailer is now rated Neutral from Overweight with a $74 price objective at JPMorgan, whose concerns include reduced earnings visibility.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA): The cult electric car company, already up 343.74% in the past year and surging a further 16.89% before the bell, nonetheless gets downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Barbarians Back Off Bill Gates at Microsoft Corporation and New Stock Coverage: Nike Inc Jumps to It.)

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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