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Stock Downgrades: A Farewell to ARM Holdings

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

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Jawboning may be part of the FOMC's mandate, yet "Don't Speak! Don't speak!" - the wise words of Dianne Wiest - would have been better advice for Ben Bernanke yesterday. Stocks slumped after oscillating wildly on confusing comments from the Fed head. Ms. Wiest uttered the immortal words in Bullets Over Broadway but the knives were also out for Caesars Entertainment (CZR), which tumbled 2.17% on a ratings reduction. Elsewhere, phone stocks fell 1.2%, so little wonder that Mr. Madoff was forced to call collect.

Today in economics, analysts expect April new home sales to improve on the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings activity, Advance Auto Parts (AAP), GameStop (GME), Gap Inc. (GPS), Hormel Foods (HRL), Lenovo (OTCMKTS:LNVGY), Ralph Lauren (RL), Ross Stores (ROST), SABMiller (OTCMKTS:SBMRY), salesforce.com (CRM), Signet Jewelers (SIG), Sears (SHLD), and Williams-Sonoma (WSM) are all due to release results.

Anglo American (OTCMKTS:AAUKY): Jefferies cuts the commodity company, which owns 85% of diamond giant De Beers, to Hold from Buy.

ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH): Shares of the semiconductor stock, a key Apple (AAPL) supplier, are sliding 6.3% in today's weak London tape on the back of a Neutral-from-Outperform downgrade by BNP Paribas.

Blue Nile (NILE): RBC Capital reduces the online jewelry retailer to Sector Perform from Outperform on account of its current plump price.

Comerica (CMA): CMA is now Negative from Neutral at Susquehanna.

Devon Energy (DVN): JPMorgan moves the stock to Neutral from Overweight.

DuPont (DD): The Dow (^DJI) member is downgraded to Sell from Hold at BGC Partners.

Flextronics (FLEX): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

KingFisher (OTCMKTS:KGFHY): The company is now Reduce from Neutral at Nomura.

Multiband (MBND): Shares are moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Northland Capital, which trims its target price to $3.25 from $3.50. Competing bids for the company are unlikely, the broker believes.

Prosperity Bancshares (PB): BMO Capital moves the stock to Market Perform from Outperform.

Realty Income (O): Shares get slashed to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

ReneSola (SOL): Credit Suisse reduces SOL to Underperform from Neutral.

Sanmina (SANM): Deutsche Bank takes the tech stock to Sell from Hold.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Mystic Meg Predicts Profits at Hewlett-Packard and New Stock Coverage: Can Johnson & Johnson Be Market's Band-Aid?)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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