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Stock Downgrades: Urban Outfitters Sent to Siberia


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

Money talked last week and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) was all ears, if Ross Perot will forgive the phrase. The tech titan advanced 5.9% to best all blue chips amid speculation it may sell the EDS unit purchased from the Texas tycoon in 2008.

Meanwhile time was money for Movado (MOV), which surged 9.32% on Friday to a fresh 52-week peak following an analyst upgrade. Unfortunately France's Compagnie Financière Richemont (PINK:CFRUY), which makes fancy Cartier watches, couldn't keep up. It slumped by the most since September in yesterday's European trading. If only Angela Merkel, celebrating Franco-German cooperation by the Brandenburg Gate this morning, would buy one rather than making do with a timepiece that cost all of 89 euros.

This morning in economics, December existing home sales are expected to tick up slightly from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, peak earnings week is upon us, with over 80 of the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) set to announce at some stage. Among today's results, due to include a quintet of key Dow (^DJI) components, are Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Coach (COH), CSX Corp. (CSX), Delta Air Lines (DAL), DuPont (DD), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Google (GOOG), International Business Machines (IBM), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), TD Ameritrade (AMTD), Texas Instruments (TXN), Travelers Companies (TRV), and Verizon (VZ).

Amgen (AMGN): Troubled by an excessive valuation, Credit Suisse takes the biotech to Neutral from Outperform. Its target price is also trimmed, by $10 to $90.

ARM Holdings (ARMH): The Apple Inc. (AAPL) supplier gets cut to Hold from Buy at Benchmark, which believes investor expectations are overly optimistic.

AuRico Gold (AUQ): National Bank Financial cuts the commodity company to Underperform from Sector Perform.

Becton Dickinson (BDX): Mizuho moves the medical device maker to Neutral from Buy with a price objective of $87. Weak academic spending and growing diagnostic competition are among the brokerage's concerns.

BP Plc (BP): The oil firm sees its rating reduced to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital.

Coach (COH): Shares are downgraded to Outperform from Buy at Crédit Agricole.

Diamond Offshore (DO): Credit Suisse downgrades the oil services outfit to Neutral from Outperform.

easyJet (PINK:ESYJY) Citigroup cuts the budget British air carrier to Neutral from Buy.

F5 Networks (FFIV): Shares are now Hold from Buy at Needham, which says Wall Street's consensus earnings estimates appear to be too high.

FirstEnergy (FE): The electric utility is lower this morning after getting downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies.

Johnson Controls (JCI): Lazard lowers JCI to Neutral from Buy.

Morgan Stanley (MS): MS is moved to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna, whose target is $24.

Och-Ziff Capital (OZM): Keefe Bruyette cuts the company to Perform from Outperform.

Research In Motion (RIMM): Paradigm Capital reduces the BlackBerry owner to Hold from Speculative Buy. (Note that the stock is surging ahead of this morning's opening bell after scoring an upgrade at Scotia Capital.)

Roche Holding (PINK:RHHBY): The Swiss drug giant is lower in today's European trading after getting taken to Neutral from Underperform at UBS.

SeaCube Container Leasing (BOX): Shares are lowered to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Trinity Biotech (TRIB): Roth Capital takes TRIB to Neutral from Buy.

Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN): An excessive valuation sees URBN reduced to Neutral from Overweight at Atlantic Equities, whose target is $44.

VCA Antech (WOOF): Stifel Nicolaus slashes the stock to Sell from Hold due to systemic issues in its high margin lab business.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Research In Motion on a Roll and New Stock Coverage: American Tower Stands Tall.)
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