Stock Downgrades: Panera, Done Breaking Bread, Now Breaking Bad

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As Andy Petite -- who won his first World Series ring the last (latest?) time that there was a government shutdown in 1996 -- said goodbye , Mr. Market's problems are suddenly anything but petite. The S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) has now slumped in six of its past seven sessions, a streak that looks set to continue this morning. With 1979 in the news again on account of Iran , a quote from Margaret Thatcher on November 12 of that year rang uncomfortably true for one plunging retailer She sagely said, " Pennies don't fall from heaven; they have to be earned here on earth, " and the grande dame of capitalism clearly hadn't lost her Midas touch even in the week her ashes were interred .

JC Penney ( JCP ), which imploded 30.2%, had a week from hell and just incurred another rating reduction. The Betty Ford clinic is merging and Henry Ford's ( F ) car company appears similarly addicted to the malarkey that Mulally, a man in his 69th year , might be joining strong Microsoft ( MSFT ). And speaking of '69, the iconic Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VLKAY) bus that drove untold thousands of hippies to a farm in upstate New York in August of that year, finally reached the end of the line . This as Facebook's ( FB ) Sheryl Sandberg, who arrived on the scene 10 days after Woodstock - when some stragglers were still finding their way home like a rolling stone - surged 7.90%.

Today in economics, analysts expect an uptick in September's Purchasing Managers' Index at 9:45 a.m Eastern. On the corporate front, Cal-Maine Foods ( CALM ), Diamond Foods (DMND), GenCorp (GY), Paychex (PAYX), and Park Electrochemical (PKE) are all due to release quarterly results.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN): The biotech, falling 54% this morning, is taken to Neutral from Outperform by Robert W. Baird. The target price also gets slashed, by $8 to $4.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA): BMO Capital cuts the company to Market Perform from Outperform. Its price objective, previously $37, is now $21.

CH Robinson (CHRW): The logistics company is lowered to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

International Paper (IP): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers its rating to Neutral from Buy, sending shares down this morning.

JC Penney ( JCP ): No relief for the troubled retailer, now Hold from Buy at Maxim.

Johnson Controls (JCI): Morgan Stanley gives the stock an unusual 180 degree downgrade (Underweight from Overweight), and takes its target to $40 from $45.

Panera Bread Co (PNRA): The fast food firm formerly known as Au Bon Pain is taken to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley, whose concerns include slowing same-store sales.

RealPage (RP): Credit Suisse cuts the application software company to Underperform from Neutral.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): Shares are reduced to Add from Buy at Numis.

Syngenta (SYT): The agricultural chemicals company is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

WhiteWave Foods (WWAV): The firm, whose brands include International Delight and Land O'Lakes, gets moved to Underperform from Market Perform by BMO Capital.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Buy Smucker Ahead of Washington Logjam and New Stock Coverage: Go the Extra Miley With CryusOne . )



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: CALM , F , FB , JCP , MSFT

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