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Stock Downgrades: BP Given Das Boot by the Germans


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

As we shall see in the following paragraph, precious little love has historically been lost between England and Germany. Today fresh salt is poured in the wounds as British petroleum giant BP Plc (NYSE:BP) gets downgraded by Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB). The stock has actually been a relatively strong performer recently, but regulatory uncertainty arising from its Gulf of Mexico oil well explosion in 2010 hasn't entirely been consigned to the rear-view mirror.
Tuesday was a party that left a funeral in its wake, with tears in the land of Carnival and Wall Street enduring a torrid time even as its industry bible began the trading day by celebrating its birthday. If it's any consolation to that Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)-clutching kid as he cried out in Belo Horizonte, the beverage behemoth was by far one of the Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) best performers on a day blue chips endured a triple-digit decline. And, in light of a certain scoreline, that wee laddie can thank his lucky stars he wasn't caught carrying a can of 7-Up. Neymar, alas, wasn't nearly so lucky. Tuesday's terrible tone was set early in Europe, where German exports fell more than forecast in May, and Britain's industrial production plunged by the most in 18 months. As Germany closes inexorably in on its first World Cup win since 1990, one is reminded of an exchange between England's Prime Minister and a key member of her cabinet, after the Fatherland triumphed over the Mother Country in the semi final of that year's tournament. Kenneth Clarke: "Isn't it terrible about losing to the Germans at our national sport, Prime Minister?" Margaret Thatcher: "I shouldn't worry too much -- we've beaten them twice this century at theirs." Ouch. How it must gall Maggie that a resurgent Rolls Royce, longtime icon of Albion, is now owned by Teutonic automotive titan Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (OTCMKTS:BAMXY). And, adding insult to injury to the Iron Lady's legacy, a company called Kaiser Aluminum (NASDAQ:KALU) just jumped 2.35% to a fresh 52-week peak even amid the market's swan dive. Depending on the result of today's game against Argentina, the Germans may face their old Dutch friends in Sunday's final. Yesterday, however, half-Holland-owned Air France-KLM (OTCMKTS:AFLYY) nosedived 9.22% in its single worst showing since October of 2011. (Mexicans took great pleasure in waving that stock goodbye.) And Canadian doughnut company Tim Hortons (NYSE:THI) rose 1.46% even amid much red ink elsewhere. Maybe Janet Yellen's "Doughnut Bellies" really are benefiting from the Fed head's unending sugar rush.
Speaking of the Fed, today at 2:00 p.m. EDT., the Federal Open Market Committee releases minutes to its June 18 meeting. In earnings action MSC Industrial (NYSE:MSC) and WD-40 Company (NYSE:WDFC) each release results.
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features a Dutch consumer products powerhouse and Scandinavian telecom titan, plus headline stock BP Plc.

Apollo Global Management (NASDAQ:APO): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.
BP Plc: Deutsche Bank takes today's headline stock to Hold from Buy.
Coach (NYSE:COH): The slumping handbag king is cut to Underperform from Neutral by Buckingham.
Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC): JPMorgan pulls the Swedish phone firm from its Focus List of favored equities.
Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN): GRMN gets downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest amid increased competitive concerns surrounding Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) eagerly-awaited iWatch announcement.
Gigamon (NYSE:GIMO): The networking name, slumping some 31.74% as we speak after issuing cautious Q2 revenue guidance, gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.
Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL): Oppenheimer takes the tech stock to Underperform from Perform.
Plum Creek (NYSE:PCL): Shares are slashed to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital Markets due to valuation issues.
Potash (NSYE:POT): The fertilizer firm is now Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.
Rating AgenciesMcGraw-Hill Financial (NYSE:MHFI) and Moody's (NYSE:MCO) are each reduced to Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.
Unilever (NYSE:UN): The consumer products titan gets taken to Reduce from Neutral at Nomura.
VMware (NYSE:VMW): Wells Fargo cuts the tech company to Perform from Outperform.
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Shark Week's Discovery Communications Has Not Jumped the You-Know-What

Stock Upgrades: Deutsche Bank in Seventh Heaven
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