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Stock Downgrades: Another Bad Day at the Office for Staples


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Staples (SPLS) slumped 14.60% to post the S&P 500's (^GSPC) poorest performance. Shares now stand at their lowest level in a decade, and the company may yet prove to be the Bain of Mitt's life on the campaign trail. A new study showed fewer of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Meanwhile Steve Jobs' wallet was stolen. It contained $1, or his annual paycheck. And in one of the world's fiercest rivalries, a plucky underdog finally triumphed over a global power. After 75 years, Mexico (home to a 5% unemployment rate, the world's richest man, and the G20 presidency) was defeated on home soil by the US for the first time. The winning goalscorer, Michael Orozco Fiscal, may not sound like much of an all-American boy but, with a last name like that, he at least offers hope we can finally get our economic house in order.

This morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, analysts expect August's Philadelphia Fed Index to improve over the previous month's pace. A retail-heavy session in corporate earnings includes announcements out of Aeropostale (ARO), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Gap Inc (GPS), Ross Stores (ROST), Sears (SHLD), and Wal-Mart (WMT).

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): Never a dull moment for yesterday's top S&P 500 (^GSPC) stock, today taken to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie based on continued underperforming trends, a lack of visibility, and credibility issues. Its price objective is $25.

AmerisourceBergen(ABC): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Leerink Swann.

Applied Materials (AMAT): Crédit Agricole cuts the company to Underperform from Outperform.

Bally Technologies (BYI): The stock is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

BostonPrivate Financial (BPFH): The company gets cut to Market Perform from Outperform at Fig Partners.

Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG): DDMG gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital.

Convergys (CVG): Shares are downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

CRH Plc (CRH): JPMorgan moves the company to Neutral from Overweight.

GNC Holdings (GNC): Shares are slumping before the bell on a downgrade to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Lone Pine Resources (LPR): LPR is lowered to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

SBA Communications (SBAC) Citi cuts the name to Neutral from Buy.

Sina Corp (SINA): The Chinese Internet company is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Staples (SPLS): Citi slashes the office supplies retailer, yesterday's worst performer on the S&P 500 Index, to Sell from Neutral. Its target is also taken down by $5 to $10 while investors wait for a restructuring plan to materialize.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Finish Line Starts the Morning Off Right and New Stock Coverage: Don't Charge Into American Express.)

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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