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Stock Downgrades: Target Missing the Mark


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Yesterday's standout analyst action saw General Electric (GE) downgraded at Morgan Stanley (MS). The bank's research department was founded by the dearly departed Barton Biggs, who studied creative writing in college but was mercifully never much interested in the sort of creative accounting so common on Wall Street.

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) bucked a down day after getting boosted by Goldman Sachs (GS), whose follicularly-challenged leader Lloyd Blankfein can certainly afford a let-them-eat-cake attitude after reporting Q2 revenue of $6.63 billion this morning. Ben Bernanke, the equally chrome domed Fed head, testifies to Congress today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Thus the bald continue to rule the world. One reason why Regis (RGS) just sold Hair Club to a Japanese wig maker founded in the hirsute heyday of 1969. As a wise barber once advised a thinning-on-top client, there's ultimately only one thing that stops hair from falling: The ground.

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU): The stock, slumping before the bell, is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Arch Coal (ACI): ACI is downgraded to Fair Value from Buy at CRT Capital due to deteriorating credit metrics. The objective is $7.

Cintas (CTAS): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform by Barrington Research.

Deere (DE): DE is downgraded to Underweight from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Dunkin' Brands (DNKN): The stock is now Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan amid valuation issues. The price target is $33.

Express (EXPR): Morgan Stanley moves the fashion firm to Equal Weight from Overweight.

FX Alliance (FX): Shares are downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette.

Home Builders: DR Horton (DHI) and KB Home (KBH) are each downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Home Improvement Retailers: Home Depot (HD), a key Dow component, and competitor Lowe's (LOW) are each now Neutral from Buy at Janney Montgomery Scott.

JC Penney (JCP): Citigroup pulls the recently slumping stock from its Top Picks Live list.

Laboratory Corp. (LH): LH is lowered to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

New Oriental Education (EDU): EDU is now Neutral from Outperform at Robert Baird.

Nokia (NOK): NOK is now Underperform from Hold at Jefferies.

Questar (STR): Shares are downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

Smithfield Foods (SFD): SFD is downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Stephens, which cites the recent drought.

Target (TGT): TGT is taken to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

UniFirst (UNF): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform at Robert Baird.

Viacom (VIAB): The MTV owner is moved to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Weyerhaeuser (WY): WY gets downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Anniversary Upgrade for Disney and New Stock Coverage: Smooth Sailing for Catamaran Corp.)
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