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Stock Downgrades: Agony for Alcoa


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Mayor Bloomberg's nanny state - whose war against soda was powerless to prevent Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) from adding on 1.41% - suffered another blow when cigarette maker Philip Morris International (PM) hit an all-time high. And a day after Patriot Coal (PCX) slid 72.10% upon entering Chapter 11, a Diamond lost $31 million. Maybe Ferris Bueller was right when he suggested there ain't a dime's worth of difference between the two.

Today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, we get the minutes to the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting. In earnings action, Adtran Inc. (ADTN), DragonWave (DRWI), Material Sciences (MASC), and Northern Technologies (NTIC) are all due to release results.

Alcoa (AA): The Dow member is moved to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital.

Amerigroup (AGP): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Autos and Trucks: Robert W. Baird gives Neutral-from-Outperform downgrades to Commercial Vehicle Group (CVGI), Modine Manufacturing (MOD), and Meritor (MOTR).

BHP Billiton (BHP): The Anglo-Australian mining giant gets downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Dendreon (DNDN): Shares are lower before the opening bell after getting taken to Underperform from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Duke Energy (DUK): DUK is now Neutral from Buy at UBS.

DuPont (DD): The blue chip is downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie amid increased concerns regarding chemical segment performance. Its objective is $54.

Norsk Hydro (NHYDY): Shares are now Underperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

Office Supplies: Staples (SPLS) is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein due to slowing momentum and increasing economic concerns. The target is taken to $14 from $18. Office Depot (ODP) is also moved to Market Perform from Outperform, with a new lower target of $2.50.

Shaw Group (SHAW): Shares are downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Sigma-Aldrich (SIAL): JPMorgan moves the stock to Neutral from Overweight.

Waste Management (WM): Shares are taken to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Wendy's About to Beef Up and New Stock Coverage: Apple Still on Money Tree.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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