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The Ratings Game: Symantec stock downgraded en masse as analysts fret about internal audit

Like a computer virus, the bad news for Symantec Corp. investors came all at once.

Shares of the cybersecurity software company plunged 35% in Friday morning trading to put them on track for their biggest one-day decline in 17 years and second-biggest loss in 29 years as a public company. The move came after management said late Thursday that the company’s audit committee was conducting an internal investigation into claims made by a former employee. Also hurting matters was that Symantec SYMC, -33.10% issued a weaker-than-expected forecast for the current fiscal year and quarter.

At least five analysts downgraded their ratings on Symantec’s stock, according to FactSet, and MarketWatch counted one more who was not in FactSet’s database.

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