Caterpillar (CAT) is getting smacked down by nearly 4% adding considerably to the Dow’s (^DJI) pain. The earth moving machine maker was downgraded to underweight from neutral by analysts at JPMorgan (JPM).  The team notes that crude is now down some 50% and that’s probably going to be a headwind for companies like CAT that make machines that in part help other companies find oil. Beware of obvious downgrades in skittish tapes.

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Ford (F) getting slapped around today after reporting disappointing December sales which rose just 1.2% compared to about 20% gains at Chrysler and General Motors (GM). As has become its custom, Ford blamed a factory switchover to the new aluminum body F-150. It was something of a lost year for Ford which saw sales decline slightly while the rest of the car planet took off.

Finally Apple (AAPL) shares are down another 1.5% and taking the tech heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) with them. Some are blaming the annual sausage-fest that is the Consumer Electronics Show which starts Tuesday in Las Vegas. A couple of points about CES, the smarts know that Apple never goes to the show and if there were an Apple-killer product about to emerge it wouldn’t come out of Las Vegas this week. Still, its worth keeping an eye on Apple as its market cap fluctuates between $ 600 and $ 700 billion helping make it the most important company on earth. Shares are now down over 10% since Thanksgiving.

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