So the bull market met its end in an arctic winter, and at theÂ hands of the man who hugged a polar bear
. Some are calling Crimea a â€œblack swan eventâ€ but it was actually all too predictable. The planetâ€™s richest person -- and that would beÂ President Putin
, no matter whatÂ ForbesÂ said yesterday
-- saw his net worth slide along with a 10.8% tumble in Russiaâ€™s main market, but his geopolitical aspirations apparently mean much more than mere money. On a day all tenÂ S&P 500 Index
Â (INDEXSP:.INX) industries ended in the red, Red Lobster ownerÂ Darden Restaurants
Â (NYSE:DRI) fell 5.35% to post its poorest performance. (Red Lobster? The Kremlin appears to be taking us back to the B-52â€²s 1979 chart-topper "Rock Lobster," as that was the year it invaded Afghanistan.) Some stocks did buck a brutal tape.Â Menâ€™s Wearhouse
Â (NYSE:MW) andÂ Jos. A. Bank Clothiers
(NASDAQ:JOSB), which rose a respective 19.24% and 12.77% last week, each increased again as they continued historyâ€™s most convoluted corporate courtship. Bill Gross, who has such
-- trouble with ties, should ask either clothing company for an easier clip-on version. (Pimcoâ€™s parent, German insurance giant Allianz
may eventually want to cut its ties with the â€œbond kingâ€ after getting downgraded today.) I believe it was Russell Baker who best captured the utter uselessness of that item of clothing by calling it â€œa $60 piece of silk designed to prevent the shirt buttons from being splattered with spaghetti sauce.â€ The accessory is not worth it, especially on a dayÂ Noodles & Co
(NASDAQ:NDLS) nose-dived 6.10% andÂ Unilever
Â (NYSE:UN) -- seeking to sell Ragu
-- tumbled 2.53%.
There arenâ€™t any economic reports of note released today, but earnings announcements are expected out ofÂ AutoZone
Â (NYSE:AZO),Â Bank of Nova Scotia
Â (NYSE:BNS), and Smith & Wesson
: As mentioned earlier, Europeâ€™s biggest insurance outfit gets taken to Hold from Buy by its fellow Teutonic financial behemoth Deutsche Bank.
Â (NYSE:AU): UBS slashes the commodity outfit to Sell from Neutral.
Cliffs Natural Resources
Â (NYSE:CLF): (Fedora hat tip toÂ CasablancaÂ for todayâ€™s title
.) More bad news for the iron ore outfit, whose shares have tumbled 22.57% even in the bull market of the past 12 months. Today it gets moved to Underperform from Market Perform with Wells Fargo on account of a â€œtoo challengingâ€ environment.
Â (NASDAQ:DNDN): DNDN gets downgraded to Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein.
Â (NYSE:FMS): Shares are now Underweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities.
Â (NASDAQ:ISRG): Cantor Fitzgerald cuts the company to Hold from Buy.
Â (NYSE:LEN): Citing a steep valuation, KeyBanc Capital lowers the home-builder to Hold from Buy.
Madison Square Garden
Â (NASDAQ:MSG): MSG is moved to Hold from Buy at Needham, which notes that new CEO Tad Smith has no prior experience heading up a public company.
Â (OTCMKTS:PUBGY): Liberum lowers the giant French advertising firm to Hold from Buy.
Â (NYSE:HOT): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, which also pulls the accommodation firm from its Americaâ€™s Buy list.
Â (NASDAQ:SZYM): The stock gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy, again at Goldman.
Time Warner Cable
Â (NYSE:TWC): TWC, in the process of being bought byÂ Comcast Corporation
(NASDAQ:CMCSA), is moved to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.
Â (NASDAQ:WBMD): Worried about a recent advertising tracker utilization contraction, Stifel slashes WBMD stock to Hold from Buy. Shares are trading lower today as a result.
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