Stock Downgrades: Tough Start to the Week for Finish Line

By Justin Sharon  JAN 07, 2013 9:18 AM

Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

 


Dow Industrials (^DJI) advanced 3.84%, their best weekly showing since December of 2011. With Congress opting to kick the can and load its fiscal cliff bill full of pork, Spam maker Hormel Foods (HRL) promptly surged 11.8% to an historic high. Some said PIIGS would fly before Athens ever got its economic act together, but Avon Products (AVP), up 15% on the week, helped put lipstick on that particular one. Greece’s main market began 2013 up 7.25%, the best performance in all of Europe. This after it was also king of the continent last year with a 33.43% increase. (The country’s bonds, which gained 97.4% in the past 12 months, weren’t too shabby an investment either.) On Friday Citigroup (C) rose 2.51% to a fresh 52-week peak after Goldman Sachs (GS) added the stock to its list of “conviction” buys. Yoga apparel firm Lululemon (LULU) fared less well, losing 4.18% on a ratings reduction, although its products are apparently also popular among convicts.

No top-tier economic data due today, but quarterly earnings announcements are expected out of Commercial Metals Company (CMC), Phillips 66 (PSX) and Zep Inc (ZEP).
 
Applied Materials (AMAT): The tech stock gets taken to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.
 
ArcelorMittal (MT): RBC Capital slashes the steel stock to Sector Perform from Outperform.
 
Baidu.com (BIDU): Shares are downgraded to Equal-weight from Overweight by Barclays, which also reduces its price objective to $113 from $137.
 
Bank of New York Mellon (BK): The financial firm gets slashed to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
 
Cree, Inc. (CREE): Canaccord Genuity cuts the LED (Light Emitting Diode) maker to Hold from Buy
 
Electronic Arts (EA): EA is now Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee.
 
E.ON (EONGY): Shares in the German utility giant are trading lower in Europe today on the back of a Sell-from-Hold downgrade at Deutsche Bank. “Overbuild and demand weakness in the past five years have severely hurt generation margins”, its analysts wrote in a note.
 
Family Dollar (FDO): Morgan Stanley moves the recently slumping equity to Equal-Weight from Overweight. (The stock simultaneously scored an upgrade at Barclays this morning.)
 
Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Janney due to increasingly challenging same-store-sales comparisons and a likely moderation in growth.
 
Harvest Natural Resources (HNR): HNR is lowered to Hold from buy with Wunderlich.
 
Infineon (PINK: IFNNY): The equity is lowered to Underperform from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
 
JB Hunt Transportation (JBHT): Shares get downgraded to Equal-Weight from Overweight by Barclays.
 
Lowe’s (LOW): Saying that long-term financial targets appear aggressive, Canaccord Genuity cuts the home improvement retailer to Sell from Hold and assigns a new price objective of $27.
 
O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY): The name is now Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.
 
Residential REITs: In the Real Estate Investment Trust space, Robert Baird gives Neutral-from-Outperform ratings reductions to Home Properties (HME) and UDR, Inc. (UDR). Its respective price objectives are lowered to $66 and $26.
 
Rexnord (RXN): Deutsche Bank downgrades the stock to Sell from Hold.
 
Spirit AeroSystems (SPR): Shares are reduced to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital.
 
Under Armour (UA): Morgan Stanley moves the retailer to Equal-Weight at from Overweight.
 
Volkswagen (PINK:VLKAY): The car maker is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.
 
Watts Water Technologies (WTS): Shares are taken to Hold from Buy at Brean Capital amid an increasingly stretched valuation.
 
Yahoo (YHOO): The stock, trading at fresh multi-year highs, is moved to Market Perform from Outperform with a $23 price target at Sanford Bernstein, which sees downside risk to the Alibaba IPO and resultant reorganization. Shares are lower before the bell as a result.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Amazon’s Money Tree Keeps Growing and New Stock Coverage: Bunge Stock Set to Jump.)
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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