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Stock Downgrades: Analyst Is Not a Belieber in Align Technology

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

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Wall Street's silver spoon was rudely stolen by a Fed head speaking in forked tongues. A muddled message from Ben Bernanke - who makes his Oracle of Delphi predecessor look like the model of clarity - sent the hitherto-surging S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) down for three straight days.

Weather forecasters, famously said to have been created to "make economists look good," warned we will experience an especially active hurricane season. They said the same thing immediately after Katrina, after which we have not had a single Category 3 storm, the longest such streak since at least 1851.

Financial gurus recently assured us that the Golden State's glory days were gone forever but that now also appears erroneous. (Pacific Sunwear of California (PSUN) promptly surged 9.06% on this unexpectedly bright outlook.) Club Med countries continue to implode, with Greece gapping down 14.20% last week. Club Méditerranée (OTCMKTS:CLMDY) stock, however, is a better bet. It surged 22% as Red China struck gold while the heartland of capitalism was on holiday.

Today in economics, analysts expect an uptick in the Conference Board's May consumer sentiment survey at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, GuideWire Software (GWRE), Lukoil (OTCMKTS:LUKOY), Tiffany (TIF), United Natural Foods (UNFI), and Wet Seal (WTSL) are all due to report results.

Align Technology (NASDAQ:ALGN): The invisible teeth straightening outfit, whose clients have included Justin Bieber, is taken to Hold from Buy at Jefferies. A rich valuation is the principal factor behind today's ratings reset.

Antofagasta (OTCMKTS:ANFGY): Société Générale cuts the copper company to Sell from Hold.

Broadcom (BRCM): The tech name is now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

Exelon (EXC): Deutsche Bank downgrades the nuclear power play to Hold from Buy, sending it 1.3% lower this morning.

Flextronics (FLEX): The tech stock's rating is reduced to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

Homeowners Choice (HCI): Shares are taken to Speculative Buy from Buy at Taglich Brothers, whose new target price is $38.

Lloyds Banking Group (LYG): Citigroup slashes the British financial firm to Neutral from Buy, although shares are up 1.36% in today's London trading as I write.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBC): The company gets reduced to Sell from Neutral at Citi.

St. Jude Medical (STJ): Canaccord Genuity gives the medical device maker a Sell-from-Hold downgrade, while keeping its $35 price objective intact. The broker is concerned about deteriorating business trends.

Tsakos Energy (TNP): TNP is taken to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

URS Corporation (URS): Troubled by both an absence of backlog growth and soft profit margins in a couple of key divisions, FBR Capital takes the technical services stock to Market Perform from Outperform. Its price objective is $45.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: W.R. Grace Is Amazing and Stock Upgrades: Can Merck Lead the Dow to Another Terrific Tuesday?)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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