Stock Downgrades: Avis Hurt by Hertz Crash

By Justin Sharon  SEP 27, 2013 9:17 AM

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

 


Stocks snapped a skid that stood at five sessions thanks to, well, Sessions. Markets were calmed by reports that senior Republican Jeff Sessions wants no part of Uncle Sam shutting down and defaulting. The spirit of ’69 ruled as Mariano Rivera, born that year, held court for one final time and Sheryl Sandberg, who entered the world a month after the moon landing, saw her Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) continue its recent journey to Pluto.

Not all equities fared as well, with Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) nose-diving an NYSE-worst 16.10% after warning of weaker-than-anticipated car rentals at its airports. (Trust me, the company has had far scarier moments in the departure lounge.) Yesterday it was tough to tell the difference between boring cuisine stock Sysco (NYSE:SYY) — up 0.34% despite an iffy analyst initiation — and sexy tech stock Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), down a Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI)-worst 2.70%. Thus it should be no surprise that the most lucrative San Francisco chip play wasn’t some Silicon Valley semiconductor name but rather Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND), with the snack maker riding an analyst upgrade to advance 11.02%.

Today in economics, analysts expect an uptick in the final University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment survey for September at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL), and Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) all released results earlier this morning.
 
Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM): B. Riley & Co. reduces its rating to Neutral from Buy.
 
Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CAR): Call it collateral damage from yesterday’s 16.10% crash in Hertz (NYSE:HTZ). Today Goldman Sachs slashes its arch rival to Neutral from Buy.
 
Big BanksBank of America (NYSE:BAC), dropped from the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) this week, and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), newly added to the index, are each now Neutral from Buy at Guggenheim.
 
Cloud Peak Energy (NYSE:CLD): Goldman gives the coal company a Neutral-from-Buy rating reduction.
 
Home Bancshares (NASDAQ:HOMB): Shares are slashed to Hold from Buy with a $30 price objective at Wunderlich, which cites integration risks arising out of its acquisition of Liberty Bancshares.
 
International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT): Deutsche Bank downgrades IGT to Hold from Buy.
 
International Paper (NYSE:IP): The stock is cut to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.
 
J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP): Buckingham Research reduces the slumping retailer, sliding some 7.49% before the bell, to Neutral from Buy.
 
Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO): Citing its expectations for uninspiring third quarter results at the energy outfit, Stifel lowers its rating to Hold from Buy.
 
Nike (NYSE:NKE): A contrarian downgrade for the Dow newbie, which gained 2.06% yesterday and is adding on another 5.52% this morning on impressive earnings. Troubled by its subsequent valuation, Stifel slashes the sneaker stock to Hold from Buy.
 
Novartis (NYSE:NVS): The European pharmaceutical firm, trading atop historic highs this week, is pulled from the Most Preferred List at UBS.
 
Sunoco Logistics (NYSE:SXL): Credit Suisse lowers the limited partnership to Neutral from Outperform.
 
United Continental (NYSE:UAL): The airline name is now Neutral from Buy at Buckingham Research.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Nothing but Net Profits for Nike and New Stock Coverage: Don't Be Naughty -- Buy Nice.)

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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