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Stock Downgrades: The Shine Comes Off at Barrick Gold Corporation


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

The S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) snapped a two-week slump after Fed officials likened investors to "feral hogs." And what, exactly, is so bad about those much-maligned creatures? After all, hogs just enjoyed a stellar quarter even as other commodities cratered, and Harley-Davidson (HOG) jumped 8.47% on the week.

A Fed official's "from Wild Turkey to cold turkey" quote also didn't hurt Pilgrim's Pride (PPC), which surged 17.45%. (As for Turkey the country, the bull well and truly fled Istanbul, whose main market imploded 11% on the month.) A Silver Linings Playbook was nowhere to be seen for silver, which endured its worst quarter since 1981. And PlayBook is now a goner at BlackBerry (BBRY), which endured its worst day since April 2000 on Friday.

No top-tier corporate earnings announcements today, but the June Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index is out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

3M Co (MMM): Morgan Stanley moves the stock, a key Dow (^DJI) component, to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

AB Volvo (ADR) (VOLVY): Shares in the Swedish car company are off in today's European trading after getting pulled from Goldman Sachs' Pan-European Conviction Buy List. Concerns include launch expenses and a slowdown in China.

AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS): Wells Fargo reduces its rating to Market Perform from Outperform due to an absence of "positive catalysts."

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (AAWW): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital, which also cuts its target price by $14 to $46 on account of issues in its commercial charter business, among other factors.

Avid Technology, Inc. (AVID): The equity is now Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (ADR) (BBVA): JPMorgan moves the Spanish bank to Underweight from Neutral.

Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (ABX): More bad news for the slumping commodity company, today taken to Underperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital. Shares are tumbling a further 2% as I write.

Broadcom Corporation (BRCM): Shares are lowered to Neutral from Buy at Lazard.

Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC): The commodity company gets cut to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Pan American Silver Corp. (USA) (PAAS): Shares are moved to Underperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital Markets.

Research In Motion Ltd (BBRY): The BlackBerry owner, which fell 27.76% on Friday, is slashed to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank, moved to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley, taken to Underperform from Hold at Needham, and cut to Hold from Buy at Société Générale. Needham now says the product upgrade cycle could create a "false spring," with sales falling off after an initial period of pent-up demand.

Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): Shares are now Underweight from Neutral at JP Morgan.

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: You Won't Find a Better Buy Than Best Buy Co., Inc. and Stock Upgrades: Apple Inc. Stops the Rot.)
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