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Stock Downgrades: As It Happens, Lady Luck Isn't Staying in Las Vegas Sands


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

Casino company Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) is indeed about to cool off. The same Macau concerns that recently sent competitor Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) down sharply are a key factor behind an analyst's increased pessimism on this name. Favored high-rolling clients, known as "Whales" in Sin City parlance, appear to be taking an ominous breather.
"Clear Skies for US Shares" said the Wall Street Journal, sounding suspiciously like a hostage to fortune. Such headlines have historically preceded calamity, but for now, equities are indeed stretching into the stratosphere. Thus did the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) each reach fresh peaks. (Although poultry processor Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), which slid 6.53%, could be forgiven for its Chicken Little impersonation in warning investors that the sky is falling.) By contrast, Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) jumped 13.37% on the back of an analyst upgrade, doubtless delighting both Mr. Icahn and his new best buddy Bill Ackman, who was at daggers drawn with his fellow hedge-fund heavy until recently but now gushes "I like Carl." Indeed changing one's mind, à la Donald Sterling, appears to be all the rage right now. A Fed head who only last month said inflation was stable, and just last year called consumer prices low, now frets that they are increasingly high. Elsewhere, with the World Cup about to start, Brazil's own GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (NYSE:GOL) surged 5.20% and fútbol team Manchester United (NYSE:MANU) -- whose high-profile follower coined the word "BRIC" while still at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) -- gained 4.17%. Alas, Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME), whose World Soccer is the industry bible, saw no halo effect in its trading debut despite scoring a broker boost.
Today in economics, April wholesale inventories are out at 10:00 a.m. EDT. On the corporate front, Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL) and RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) each released results earlier this morning.
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch featuring energy and health insurance stocks plus headline equity Las Vegas Sands.

Cognizant Technology (NASDAQ:CTSH): Shares are now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna. (NYSE:COUP): Goldman Sachs slashes the stock to Sell from Neutral due to valuation concerns.
eHealth (NASDAQ:EHTH): The online health insurance outfit gets taken to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.
KB Financial (NYSE:KB): JPMorgan moves its fellow financial firm to Neutral from Overweight.
Las Vegas Sands: Today's headline downgrade is lowered to Neutral from Buy at UBS. Its price objective, previously $88, is now $79.
NW Natural Gas (NYSE:NWN): McAdams Wright Ragen reduces its rating to Hold from Buy on account of a rich multiple following good gains recently.
Tesoro Logistics (NYSE:TLLP): The limited partnership is taken to Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital Markets, which also trims its target price by $5 to $70.
Tyson Foods: Credit Suisse cuts the company to Underperform from Neutral.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: PepsiCo Sows Its Quaker Oats

Stock Upgrades: You, Too, Can Be a Netflix Billionaire
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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