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Stock Downgrades: Lorillard Goes Up in Smoke


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

Stocks staggered to a split decision after investors were confronted with conflicting signals from a tale of two figures, each equally impressive in their own way. The timeless curves of Barbie, an all-American girl if ever there was one, graced Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue cover. That a native-born babe finds herself on the front page is ordinarily an awesome sign for equities -- kiss me, Kate. However, the little matter of $17,211,558,177,668.77 (the latest kick-the-can number for our endless debt ceiling reset) may mean it is indeed different this time. Thus did the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) drop even as Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) advanced for a fifth straight session. The world's most expensive soccer star, named after arch-capitalist Ronald Reagan, was hit with a lighter, but a fat lot of good that did cigarette stock Lorillard (NYSE:LO), which lost 4.96% to lead all S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) laggards. His former team, meanwhile, endured a similarly awful day, with Manchester United (NYSE:MANU) stock slumping 4.07%. This, only hours before the team played out a tedious 0-0 tie and as ominous once-in-a-century winds buffeted the northern English city. And, on a day legendary comic Sid Caesar passed away, Mark Antony had cause to regret his "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him" schtick. Especially after CaesarStone (NASDAQ:CSTE) skyrocketed 19.55%.

It's a frenzied day for corporate earnings announcements, with Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE:AEM), Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF), and PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) among a plethora of companies releasing results.

Angie's List (NASDAQ:ANGI): Raymond James reduces its recommendation to Perform from Strong Buy.

Avago Technologies (NASDAQ:AVGO): Shares get moved to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

Itron (NASDAQ:ITRI): Brean Capital slashes the stock to Sell from Hold with a $28 target price after the company issued uninspiring 2014 earnings guidance.

Lorillard: More bad news for the tobacco titan, following Wednesday's steep slide. Today it is taken to Hold from Buy at Jefferies and the price objective, previously $54, gets cut by $3.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN): What a difference a day makes. The stock, which hit a historic high on yesterday's broker boost, is today downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer amid issues over its ample valuation. The target is also taken lower, to $325 from $310.

Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE): Shares, assigned an upbeat Outperform opinion elsewhere this morning, are now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO): Jefferies cuts the company to Hold from Buy.

Titan Machinery (NASDAQ:TITN): TITN is taken to Underperform from Neutral at Longbow.

See also:

New Stock Coverage: Michael Kors Is Absolutely Fabulous for Fashion Week

Stock Upgrades: Flights May Be Grounded but Children's Place Isn't
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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