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Stock Downgrades: Will Staples Be the Bain of Mitt Romney?


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

Half a decade after the bottom called by the late, great Mark Haines with eerie precision, S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) shares reached a new top. Back then the bourse flattened out at 666, but we have since gone from the devil to "God's work," with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) gaining 4.7% to top all Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) issues last week. This, even as its gun-toting elevator author was stripped of his book deal. (I still wouldn't mess with the Texan, especially with Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC) having just surged some 19.91%.) Bonds, James and otherwise, were shaken and stirred as Sean Connery laughably weighed in on Scottish independence from the Bahamas and erstwhile "bond king" Bill Gross had his halo slip furtherBank of Ireland (NYE:IRE) nose-dived 19% but, as Dublin's own Bono can attest, it shouldn't take no for an answer.
There aren't any top-tier economic reports released today, but FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL), Full House Resorts (NASDAQ:FLL), and Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) are all expected to announce earnings.
Athenahealth (NASDAQ:ATHN): Shares get downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer.
Deutsche Telekom (OTCMKTS:DTEGY): Jefferies takes the Teuton telecom titan to Hold from Buy.
Dupont Fabros Tech (NYSE:DFT): The stock is now Hold from Buy at Jefferies. Its price objective, previously $29, is trimmed to $25.
Expeditors International (NASDAQ:EXPD): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital, which also trims its target price by $3 to $45. Concerns include an increasingly challenging pricing backdrop.
Homebuilders: Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers KB Home (NYSE:KBH) by an unusual 180 degrees, all the way to Underperform from Buy, and moves Meritage (NYSE:MTH) to Underperform from Neutral.
HomebuildersDR Horton (NYSE:DHI) and New Home (NYSE:NWHM): are each now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.
National Retail Properties (NYSE:NNN): Due to a steep valuation, FBR Capital reduces its rating to Perform from Outperform.
Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS): The office supply outfit, which Bain Capital put on the map in the 1980s, is taken to Hold from Buy by BB&T. Last week its shares slid 15.55%.

Also See:

New Stock Coverage: Home Shop Till You Drop at HSN Inc. (MVPRO article)

Stock Upgrades: Lost an Hour of Sleep? Replenish Your Daylight Savings With DreamWorks (MVPRO article)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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