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Stock Downgrades: Caterpillar in the Doghouse

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The irrepressibly perky Flo found further reason for joy as Progressive's (PGR) impressive earnings sent it up 1.89% in an otherwise dire market. 24 hours after World Postal Day - that the check didn't arrive on time is par for the course at the USPS -FedEx (FDX), upgraded this morning, bucked a bad tape to gain 5.15%. 24 hours after RadioShack (RSH) surged 13%, Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) rose 4.56% to a fresh 52-week peak. The siren song of MTV clearly needs to be reworked, especially after owner Viacom (VIA) dropped 1.71% on a downgrade. And as if Greece hasn't suffered enough, hair care company Helen of Troy (HELE), named after Zeus's daughter, imploded 11.92% to post the Nasdaq's (^IXIC) poorest performance. This as a bald guy got an endorsement from a hirsute individual who happens to be one of America's best businessmen.

Today's earnings announcements are due to include Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK), Cantel Medical (CMN), Fastenal (FAST), Safeway (SWY), Winnebago Industries (WGO), and Zep Inc. (ZEP).

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) The Dow (^DJI) component is cut to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital on account of increased headwinds from mining capex reductions and power generation markets. The price target is lowered to $95 from $105.

Celgene (CELG): Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray amid valuation concerns.

Check Point Software (CHKP): Shares are now Hold from Buy at Needham due to competitive concerns.

Fresenius Medical (FMS): Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities.

Marriott International (MAR): MAR gets moved to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, which expresses concerns over relative valuation. The price objective is $43.

Qiagen (QGEN): HSBC Securities cuts QGEN to Underweight from Neutral.

Siemens (SI): Shares in the German industrial giant are trading lower in Europe today on a Hold-from-Buy downgrade at Deutsche Bank.

Texas Instruments (TXN): Citing a "muted" semiconductor recovery among other issues, Credit Suisse cuts the semiconductor stock to Neutral from Outperform and trims its target by $6 to $26.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Oil's Well That Ends Well at Exxon and Stock Upgrades: Check Is in the Mail at FedEx.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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