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Stock Downgrades: IBM's Big Blues

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL On the day of the debate, toymaker Mattel (MAT) continued Big Bird's rehabilitation by climbing 5.04%. Its Barbie is clearly living large in her dreamhouse and no wonder, with homebuilder confidence having just hit a six year high and property manager American Realty Investors (ARL) gaining 13.33% to top the entire NYSE.

Premier Exhibitions (PRXI), whose Bodies exhibit did so much to stimulate Chinese exports - of corpses, in its case - jumped 18.14%. And Do You Know the Way to San Jose? Probably not, if you're using Apple's (AAPL) crappy map app, but that stock still advanced 2.37% after announcing an iPad mini event next week in California's third-largest city.

Hump Day of peak earnings week is upon us, with American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), eBay Inc. (EBAY), and PepsiCo (PEP) among a multitude of big name companies reporting results.

American Tower (AMT): Shares are downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

Apollo Group (APOL): APOL gets lowered to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Cisco Systems (CSCO): The company, a key Dow (^DJI) component, gets cut to Hold from Buy at Cantor Fitzgerald, whose concerns include valuation issues and potential delays to the firm's recovery. The target price is also cut, to $19.50 from $20.50.

Diebold (DBD): DBD is now Neutral from Buy at Compass Point amid a challenged domestic regional and community bank end market.

ExlService (EXLS): Shares are reduced to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird.

Homebuilders: Raymond James reduces Ryland (RYL) to Market Perform from Outperform and takes Toll Brothers (TOL) to Outperform from Strong Buy.

Imax Corp. (IMAX): The stock is now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna, whose target is $23.

International Business Machines (IBM): The Dow (^DJI) member, sharply lower ahead of this morning's opening bell, is moved to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital and to Sell from Hold at Société Générale.

Packaging Corp. of America (PKG): Shares get downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital, whose price objective is $38.

PNC Financial (PNC): PNC is cut to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus to reflect net interest margin pressure among other concerns.
Resources Connection (RECN): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie, which cites its high exposure to end markets. The broker would instead put fresh money into Robert Half (RHI).

Texas Instruments (TXN): Longbow lowers the semiconductor stock to Underperform from Neutral following checks that indicates aggressive discounting. Its objective is $22.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Citigroup Survives October Surprise and New Stock Coverage: Nielsen Tops the Ratings.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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