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Stock Downgrades: Clouds in Coffee at Starbucks


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Today London hosts its first Olympics since the so-called Austerity Games of 1948, when a Europe recently buffeted by the Second World War remained on its knees. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This quadrennial sporting spectacle began in Greece, of course, and thus it is only appropriate that native son Vangelis, or Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou to use his $10 name, will have his indelibly uplifting theme tune from Chariots of Fire performed at every medal ceremony. The composer's homeland, due to go bust by August 20, can currently use all the spine-tingling inspiration it can get.

Today in economics, we get the University of Michigan's final figure for July consumer confidence at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. Another frenzied week for Q2 earnings announcements comes to a close with Allied Irish Banks (AIBYY), Barclays (BCS), Chevron (CVX), Merck (MRK), NTT Docomo (DCM), Renault (RNSDF), and Total (TOT) all expected to report results.

Acme Packet (APKT): Shares are downgraded to Perform from Strong Buy at Raymond James.

Boston Scientific (BSX): BSX is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Northland Securities.

Coinstar (CSTR): Shares are downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest.

Colgate-Palmolive (CL): CL is cut to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank due to valuation concerns. Its new price objective is $110 from $105.

CONSOL Energy (CNX): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&T Capital.

Dow Chemical (DOW): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

EMCOR Group (EME): Shares are downgraded to Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital.

Exxon Mobil (XOM): The Dow member is now Neutral from Buy at UBS amid disappointing production trends. The target price is $90.

General Electric (GE): The Dow member is downgraded to Perform from Outperform by Bernstein.

Green Dot (GDOT): GDOT gets downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

IMAX Corp (IMAX): Shares are now Neutral from Outperform at Wedbush.

Meridian Bioscience (VIVO): The stock is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.

NetSpend (NTSP): Shares are moved to Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette.

Quality Systems (QSII): Lazard lowers the stock to Neutral from Buy.

Raytheon (RTN): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch reduces its RTN recommendation to Neutral from Buy.

Starbucks (SBUX): Shares, slumping before the bell, are now Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, which takes its target to $50 from $65. The sudden moderation in US comps in June-July has reduced the visibility in the earnings outlook.

Unilever (UL): Shares are slashed to Sell from Hold at Société Générale.

United Continental (UAL): UAL is downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

Valley National (VLY): The stock is downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Sprint Strikes Olympic Gold and New Stock Coverage: Pan American Silver Only Good Enough for Bronze.)
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