You know things are bad when Iceland, unlikely epicenter of the
2008 financial crisis, and Greece, current poster child for
economic failure, are the only markets in all of Europe that
actually increased on the week.
The worldwide tale of woe ultimately encompassed America, where
stocks posted their worst performance of the year, but it
originated in China.
Eight is a lucky number over there
whereas in the west it is seven that is seen as fortunate. Hence
Beijing reporting a growth rate of "only" 7.7%, instead of the
expected 8%, sent shares slumping.
Some equities did buck a bad tape.
Chipotle Mexican Grill
) gained 7.1% and is now up some 56% since October alone. An
investment bigwig recently said its "
gourmet burrito is an oxymoron
," but the company would likely return the compliment on him, maybe
minus the first two syllables of the last word.
In a cratering commodity complex, copper officially entered a bear
market, gold endured its single worst day in 33 years, and silver
slumped 13%. This as Great Britain buried its iconic Iron Lady.
Fitch, clearly no dummy and unwilling to risk her wrath, waited
until Maggie had sadly departed the scene to
downgrade the country's credit rating
. Not coincidentally, on the same day an analyst also
cut the maker of one of Mrs. Thatcher's favorite
. Fear not, however, for the former Prime Minister is such a
staunch proponent of capitalism she can even
resuscitate it from beyond the grave
This morning in economics, March existing home sales are expected
to increase from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Peak
earnings week is upon us, with today's key results due to include
(ALKS): Lazard Capital lowers the company to Neutral from Buy.
(COR): COR is cut to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore.
(ERIC): SociÃ©tÃ© GÃ©nÃ©rale slashes the Swedish telecom titan to
Sell from Hold.
(GE): The key
(^DJI) component, which fell 4.06% on Friday after issuing
earnings, is now Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan. The target is
taken to $22 from $24 amid smaller profit margins and slower
(KMB): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the Kleenex maker to
Neutral from Buy.
(MKC): The spice stock, recently trading atop historic highs, gets
moved to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc amid concerns its valuation is
now a little lofty.
(MCD): CrÃ©dit Agricole cuts the Dow member, which like GE
announced its earnings on Friday, to Outperform from Buy.
Metals & Mining
: Deutsche Bank downgrades both
(KGC) to Hold from Buy and slashes
(NEM) to Sell from Hold.
) Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Securities, which
trims its price objective to $8.80 from $11.50.
Penn National Gaming
(PENN): The casino company gets cut to Equal-Weight from Overweight
at Morgan Stanley.
(UA): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Buckingham Research.
(VZ): A third Dow downgrade of the day, as Macquarie moves the
recently surging blue chip to Neutral from Outperform due to a
slowdown in wireless revenue growth.
(WIT): Jefferies cuts the Indian outsourcing and Information
Technology giant to Hold from Buy.
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