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Stock Downgrades: Don't Kid Yourself, Mattel Has a Midlife Crisis With 55-Year-Old Barbie

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

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With apologies to Aqua, we no longer live in a Barbie World. Corporate parent Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) is seeing Internet-era kids shun its old-school 11.5-inch piece of plastic that arrived in antediluvian 1959. Yesterday shares slumped 6.58% and the stock is moving even lower this morning. Overall Q2 profit was tepid at the toy maker but Ken's friend, whose North American sales have now imploded in eight straight quarters, is getting most of the blame.
 
Whoever scheduled Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), with its age-old mantra of It's a Small World After All, to bring Thursday's tortuous trading to a close is a latter-day Nostradamus. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped by triple digits as investors learned to their considerable cost the dark side of that ostensibly chirpy song. A global wall of worry stretching from the skies over Ukraine to the tunnels under Gaza resulted in the worst rout in equities since April. Even so, a few equities managed to buck the remorseless tide of red ink. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose to a 14-year high after cutting 14% of its workforce. Fourteen? That's when Bolivian kids begin work. Or it was, until the minimum age was taken to 10LeapFrog (NYSE:LF), backed by Michael Milken, ended up 1.88% even as General Motors (NYSE:GM) gave back 1.01% after Michael Milliken got grilled on the Hill. And the smart set made money talk most eloquently at Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) radio, sending the home of Howard Stern up 1.02%. Alas, fans of the shock jock probably should have stayed, if not mute, then undeniably dumb. Elsewhere, AutoNation (NYSE:AN), whose CEO is Michael Jackson, imploded 8.24% in its worst showing since 2009, the year we lost Michael Jackson.
 
Today in economics, consumer confidence comes out at 9.55 a.m. EDT and leading indicators at 10:00 a.m. On the corporate front, a frenetic first full week for Q2 earnings concludes with Bank of NY Mellon (NYSE:BNY), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), General Electric (NYSE:GE), Honeywell (NYSE:HON), and Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) all releasing results.
 
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch featuring an American energy outfit and German car giant, plus headline stock Mattel.

Advanced Micro (NYSE:AMD): Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowers the tech titan, whose shares are slumping 17.07% even as we speak, to Underperform from Neutral.
 
Alliance Data Systems (NYSE:ADS): The stock is reduced to Neutral from Outperform with an amended $287 price objective at Robert W. Baird, which cites elevated 2015 expectations among other reasons for its increased caution.
 
Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC): Sanford Bernstein slashes the stock to Market Perform from Outperform.
 
Daimler (OTCMKTS:DDAIF): The German automotive outfit is now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
 
Dunkin Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN): Janney downgrades the doughnut name to Neutral from Buy.
 
EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform by Bernstein.
 
Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR): Raymond James reduces its rating to Perform from Outperform.
 
Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM): IRM is now Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird, whose target price is also trimmed by $1 to $39 amid potential equity dilution concerns.
 
Mattel: Today's headline stock is now Hold from Buy at Needham.
 
Nu Skin (NYSE:NUS): Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowers its investment assessment to Underperform from Neutral.
 
O'Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY): Shares get slashed to Hold from Buy at Stifel.
 
RealPage (NASDAQ:RP): William Blair cuts the company by an unusual 180 degrees, all the way to Underperform from Outperform.
 
Wolverine World Wide (NYSE:WWW): The shoe stock gets downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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