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Stock Downgrades: Coal Companies Cool Off


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Europe was bedeviled by acrimonious infighting over who bears blame for the collapse of its plans to create Earth's largest maker of deadly ammunition. This as the continent that hosted the 20th century's biggest bloodbaths, from the Battle of the Somme to the Blitz to Bosnia, and it was just awarded a Peace Prize by the heirs of Alfred Nobel, an armaments manufacturer who invented dynamite. The next time Athens erupts in violence, it can at least take comfort in the knowledge that irony is bulletproof.

This morning, Friday October the 12th, JPMorgan (JPM) just revealed record profits. After previously reporting its results on Friday the 13th of January, Friday the 13th of April, and Friday the 13th of July, the firm may finally have its first lucky break of 2012.

Today in economics, analysts expect the University of Michigan's preliminary October consumer sentiment survey to show a slight slippage at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, DiamondRock Hospitality (DRH), KMG Chemicals (KMG), Webster Financial (WBS), and Wells Fargo (WFC) are all due to announce earnings.

Anglo American (AAUKY): The commodity company is cut to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities.

Banco Santander (BSAC): Shares are slashed to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup.

Coal Companies: Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) is now Neutral from Buy at Nomura, whose concerns include lower coking coal Average Selling Prices and structural dislocation in certain markets. Rival Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) is taken to Reduce from Neutral amid similar issues.

Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO): The oil services outfit gets downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by FBR Capital due to a currently excessive valuation.

Dollar Tree (DLTR): Shares are downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray after the company's analyst day.

Eli Lilly (LLY): LLY is lowered to Underperform from Neutral at Cowen amid both its rich valuation and pipeline risk.

Fast Food Stocks: Concerned about cautious industry channel checks indicating a deceleration in same-store-sales, Cowen & Company cuts both Einstein Noah Restaurant Group (BAGL) and Wendy's (WEN) to Neutral from Outperform.

Hard Disk Drive Makers: Seagate Technology (STX) and Western Digital (WDC) are each slashed to Sell from Buy at Citigroup, which cites demand deterioration in the industry. Shares are lower before today's opening bell as a result.

Jive Software (JIVE): JIVE is moved to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital.

Liquidity Services (LQDT): Shares are lowered to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Siemens (SI): The German industrial giant gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Société Générale.

Titanium Metals (TIE): TIE gets taken to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Tyco International (TYC): Shares are downgraded to In-line from Outperform at Imperial Capital, whose target is $30.

Walter Energy (WLT): Crédit Agricole slashes the stock to Sell from Outperform.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: LinkedIn Set for Career Year? and New Stock Coverage: General Electric Gets Power Jolt.)
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