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Stock Downgrades: Pull Plug Power From Your Portfolio

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

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On a day it was far too cold to do so, American investors lost their shirts to President Putin, a man who never had a problem bearing his torso. (Better watch out, my horseback-riding buddy. The poorest-performing S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) issue was Phillips-Van Heusen owner PVH Corp (NYSE:PVH), which fell 5.74% on a rating reduction. Ronald Reagan wore its shirts while winning the Cold War, and he put paid to your Politburo predecessor while riding sidesaddle.) I would say Mad Vlad needs to beware the "Pottery Barn" rule of creating havoc in Crimea, but, on a day its owner Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) surged 9.78% to hit a historic high, fear such an admonition would only enrich him further. Elsewhere, utilities were by far the best-performing sector. This, in a week when Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED) disgraced itself in disaster and the lights went out on our nation's Capitol on Wednesday. The same day, appropriately enough, when our overworked Senate split for a one week recess.
 
Today in economics, the March University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey is expected to tick up slightly from February's rate at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. On the quarterly earnings front, Ann Inc (NYSE:ANN), Buckle (NYSE:BKE), and Cooper Tire & Rubber (NYSE:CTB) all release results.
 
AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN): The British pharmaceutical firm is currently tumbling 2.35% in London after being taken to Underweight from Neutral at JP Morgan.
 
Delek Logistics (NYSE:DKL): Goldman Sachs slashes the limited partnership to Neutral from Buy.
 
Gold Stocks: Macquarie moves both AngloGold (NYSE:AU) and Harmony Gold (NYSE:HMY) to Underperform from Neutral.
 
Hibbett Sports (NASDAQ:HIBB): Shares are falling some 4.56% as we speak after getting downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel. Fourth quarter came in six cents shy of Street estimates. The deep freeze, that age-old excuse, was cited by the retailer for its shortfall.
 
Houston Wire & Cable (NASDAQ:HWCC): Raymond James reduces its rating to Underperform from Market Perform.
 
Oncothyreon (NASDAQ:ONTY): The stock is cut to Hold from Buy at Cantor Fitzgerald.
 
PhotoMedex (NASDAQ:PHMD): Ascendiant Capital Markets lowers the medical appliance outfit to a still-bullish Buy from Strong Buy, with valuation issues now an understandable concern after shares surged 9.52% even in yesterday's market bloodbath. The target price is also trimmed, by $2 to $18.
 
Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE:PNK): The Sin City casino company gets cut to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.
 
Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG): Shares, which surged 17.65% yesterday, are now falling 5.50% after post-earnings downgrades by both Cowen (Market Perform from Outperform with an amended price objective of $7.50) and Roth Capital (Neutral from Buy).
 
Steel Stocks: Credit Suisse cuts commodity companies Nucor Corp (NYSE:NUE) -- Neutral from Outperform -- US Steel (NYSE:X) -- Underperform from Neutral.
 
XO Group (NYSE:XOXO): Time to kiss this stock good-bye? B. Riley & Co. certainly thinks so, taking it to Neutral from Buy following fourth-quarter earnings. Its price objective, previously $15, also falls by $5. The company's offerings include TheBump.com, TheKnot.com, TheNest.com, and WeddingChannel.com.

Also see:

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Stock Upgrades: Market Got You Down? Aim High With Lowe's
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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