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Stock Downgrades: Dean Foods Cries Over Spilled Milk


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) bucked a down day and hit the highest level in its history. A birth in one of the retail giant's superstores was once the subject of a movie, and the company long ago began carrying coffins. It can now add 'matched' to its 'hatched' and 'dispatched' capabilities after an Arkansas couple just got married in its aisles.

Yesterday's analyst action saw downgrades of Hormel (HRL), whose Spam is made from pork shoulder meat, and Smithfield Foods (SFD), the world's largest pork producer. No wonder then that a wild boar broke into an Austrian bank, seeking shelter. Given that a run on the country's Credit-Anstalt in 1931 kicked off the Great Depression in Europe, this may be less a cute story and more an ominous omen.

This morning in economics, the University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment survey for July is expected to tick up slightly at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are each already out with results.

ASML Holding (ASML): The company is cut to Neutral from Buy at Nomura.

Associated Estates (AEC): AEC is now Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, which takes its target to $16 from $20. Despite a compelling valuation, there are no immediate catalysts.

Dean Foods (DF): The largest US dairy processor is downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $17 objective at Goldman Sachs due to higher risk of dairy inflation.

Discovery Communications (DISCA): Shares are lower this morning on a downgrade to Sell from Neutral at Goldman.

DragonWave (DRWI): Shares are taken to Reduce from Hold at TD Securities.

Edwards Lifesciences (EW): EW is now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Fidelity National Information Services (FIS): Shares are downgraded to Neutral from Outperform by Robert Baird.

Gazprom (OGZPY): The Russian oil giant gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at ING Groep.

Infosys (INFY): The Indian outsourcing firm is now Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

Ryland Group (RYL): RYL is reduced to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Saks Inc (SKS): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the luxury retailer to Underperform from Neutral.

Sigma Designs (SIGM): Shares are slashed to Sell from Neutral at UBS.

Smithfield Foods (SFD): The stock is removed from the U.S. Focus List at Credit Suisse.

Total System (TSS): TSS is taken to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Bet the House on KB Home? and New Stock Coverage: Quick Bucks in Fast Food.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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