Stock Downgrades: A Little Bird Tells Me the Canary Just Ate Caterpillar

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" Space: The final frontier ." So said Star Trek , as the Starship Enterprise started "Its five year mission to explore strange new worlds." Almost half a decade in to this bull market, US markets continue going to Pluto, yesterday lead by an S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX)-best 5.47% jump in Frontier Communications ( FTR ). "Dow, S&P 500 end higher on Microsoft ( MSFT ), Europe" read Reuters headline , which would have made for a mighty improbable lede mere months ago. But we have indeed gone Back to the Future , with a helping hand from Guess ( GES ). The clothing company that outfitted the 1985 film answered all questions by gaining 2.58%. If Tesla Motors ( TSLA ) will forgive the phrase, that movie was memorable for firing up the Delorean, but Mr. Musk makes an unworthy heir after his stock tumbled 14.51% in enduring its worst day for two years. The South African CEO said Panasonic (OTCMKTS:PCRFY) deserves a measure of the blame, amid a tight supply of its batteries. Since that Japanese giant is best know for its 1980s catchphrase " Just slightly ahead of our time ," they should surely have seen it coming. And 153 years to the day after Abraham Lincoln's election, Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ) priced its Initial Public Offering. Our 16th president indelibly altered history in 268 iconic words; the micro-blogging service needs only 140 characters. Still, from "Four score and seven years ago" to "Does it take 18 months for twins to be born? Or 9?" is a funny kind of progress. Thus does our culture continue to be dumbed down, even on a day an upgraded Interactive Intelligence ( ININ ) increased 17.99%. Just ask Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), whose shares slumped an S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX)-worst 13.52. They're just a bunch of Hicks .

In terms of today's economic events that may move US markets, September consumer credit is expected to show a contraction at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, Annie's (BNNY), Apache (APA), Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA), Beazer Homes (BZH), Crédit Agricole (OTCMKTS:CRARY), FireEye (FEYE), Groupon (GRPN), Nvidia (NVDA), Priceline (PCLN), Rocket Fuel (FUEL), Siemens (SI), Walt Disney (DIS), and Wendy's (WEN) are all due to announce earnings.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): The " cool kids " can't help you now, buddy. The teen clothing company's endlessly controversial CEO had to endure an S&P 500-worst 13.52% slide yesterday. This morning, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch does a 180 on this slumping retailer, slashing it all the way to Sell (or "Underperform," in the euphemistic parlance of equity analysts) from Buy.

Apartment Investment & Management (AIV): RBC Capital cuts the company to Sector Perform from Outperform.

Carmike Cinemas (CKEC): Carmike Cinemas, having surged some 6.33% yesterday, is reduced to Perform from Market Perform Raymond James due to understandable valuation issues. Carmike Cinemas runs digital and 3-D theaters.

Caterpillar (CAT): Caterpillar, a key Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) component, is now Neutral from Buy at ISI Group. Over the past year, construction equipment company Caterpillar has seen its stock fall 4.38% amid concerns over a slowing Chinese economy, among other issues.

51job Inc. (JOBS): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Underweight from Equal-Weight.

Garmin (GRMN): Bank of America-Merrill lowers portable navigation powerhouse Garmin to Neutral from Buy. Garmin shares have returned a tidy 26.52% in the last year.

IAMGOLD (IAG): IAG gets downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight by Barclays, whose price objective - previously $7 - is slashed to $5.

Qualcomm (QCOM): The tech name is now Market Perform from Outperform at Northland Capital, whose target price is lowered to $72. Concerns include margin pressure and issues related to fourth quarter average selling prices. .

SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKWY): Raymond James reduces the regional airline to Market Perform from Outperform. Yesterday shares rose 2.47% to a fresh 52-week peak.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Time to Put Your Nest Egg in Twitter? and Stock Upgrades: Who Needs Twitter When There's American Eagle? )



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: FTR , GES , ININ , MSFT , TSLA

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