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Stock Downgrades: Target Lady Is in the Crosshairs and About to Wiig Out


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

Kristen Wiig's Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) lady is, as best I can tell, still employed. Alas, the same can't be said for the character's longtime CEO.

Yesterday the retailer tumbled 3.45% after Gregg Steinhafel, a 35-year veteran of the firm, handed in his resignation after last year's massive customer data breach. The resultant C-Suite uncertainty at Target is a key cause of this morning's rating reduction.
Despite iffy economic data from the land of General Tso's Chicken and geopolitical concerns in the birthplace of Chicken Kiev, the sky refused to fall in on equities even a little. (That said, the world's largest poultry producer Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) did nose-dive an S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)-worst 9.87%.) Birthday boy George Clooney will have enjoyed a 2.27% tumble in Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), the casino company owned by his current enemy number one. Hollywood's newly engaged heartthrob did, however, have the rug pulled out from under him when hedge fund heavy Dan Loeb, who he once called a "carpetbagger", finagled a seat on the board at Sotheby's (NYSE:BID). The auction house, founded in 1744, is the oldest publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. The Mutiny on the Bounty dates to the same era, and yesterday plundering pirates again proved profitable as Odyssey Marine Exploration (NASDAQ:OMEX) surged 7.58% after it recovered $1.3 million from an old shipwreck.
Today's quarterly earnings announcements include Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), and Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM).

Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features a huge hotel chain plus headline stock Target Corporation.

Cimarex (NYSE:XEC): The energy outfit gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Societe Generale, whose amended price objective is $126.
Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO): Shares are now Hold from Buy with a new $137 target price at Societe Generale.
Fabrinet (NYSE:FN): Citing a relatively plump valuation, allied to reduced earnings growth prospects, Needham lowers its rating to Hold from Buy.
Intercontinental Hotels Group (NYSE:IHG): UBS takes the accommodation outfit to Neutral from Buy.
Swift Energy (NYSE:SFY): Shares are cut to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
Target Corporation: Today's headline downgrade is showing further softness ahead of the open after being moved to Neutral from Buy at MKM Partners.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Zoe's Kitchen Can Take the Heat

Stock Upgrades: Charles Schwab Is No Two Buck Chuck
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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