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Stock Downgrades: Luis Suarez Sponsor Standard Chartered Kicked in the Teeth

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

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On the very day he was banned from fútbol for four months, Luis Suárez had to endure the additional ignominy of seeing his Liverpool shirt sponsor Standard Chartered (LON:STAN) slump some 4.33%. The British banking behemoth fell sharply following a first-half profit warning.
 
Ironic, on a day a company called Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM) surged 20.05% to top the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) and GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO), whose cameras have conquered Everest, jumped 30.58% to top the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC), but stocks fell from summits for a third time in four sessions. As an exasperated Julie Andrews asked amid vertiginous Alpine peaks in The Sound of MusicHow Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Mr. Market had no answer to that inquiry on a day we lost a fine man who asked the most iconic question in American history, and Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped as a result. Ms. Bartiromo sent stocks swooning by eliciting an ominous answer from St. Louis Fed head James Bullard, whose hill-free home state is flat as a pancake. Among standout stocks Manitowoc (NYSE:MTW) rose 13.14% on a bullish article in The New York Times (NYSE:NYT). As for the media stock itself, it was a paper tiger, plunging 4.34% on an iffy analyst initiation. Overall volume was anemic as traders took time off to watch Team USA play Germany, a team that the "newspaper of record" said has been winning World Cups for almost a thousand years. So our defeat wasn't actually that bad, considering the infinitely greater experience of America's opponents.
 
This morning in economics, the University of Michigan's final figure for June consumer confidence is expected to improve at 9:55 a.m. EDT. In earnings action, AZZ Incorporated (NYSE:AZZ), Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL), and KB Home (NYSE:KBH) all release results.
 
Now let's look at this morning's rating reductions, an eclectic bunch that features a Bill Ackman favorite and accommodation outfit, plus headline stock Standard Chartered.

Air Products (NYSE:APD): The company, in which William Ackman owns a sizable stake, gets downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.
 
Anadigics (NASDAQ:ANAD): Needham now has the stock a Hold, down from a prior Buy.
 
HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC): Shares are cut to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
 
LaSalle Hotel (NYSE:LHO): MLV & Co lowers LHO to Hold from Buy with a $38 price objective due to a relatively plump valuation relative to rivals.
 
Manitowoc: As mentioned, this stock surged yesterday but this morning it is moved to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital. (Note that the equity simultaneously scored a broker boost today, and shares are currently trading up as we speak.)
 
QLT Inc (NASDAQ:QTLI): Shares are slashed to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital amid its planned merger with Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AUXL).
 
Standard Chartered: HSBC Securities cuts today's headline stock to Underperform from Neutral.
 
Tahoe Resources (NYSE:TAHO): TAHO gets taken to Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.
 
VeriSign (NASDAQ:VRSN): The stock is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Aetna Kicks Into High Gear After $66,100 Bunion Repair Bill

Stock Upgrades: Teutons Topple Team USA, but Nike Is Still Just Doing It Best
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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