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Stock Downgrades: Carnival Set to Sink


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

After setting 21 straight records this year, the Dow (^DJI) encountered a classic catch-22. Blue chips, beset by listless trading all day, dropped 19.12. (A number sequence that carries uneasy echoes of the year the Titanic sank; Carnival Corporation (CCL) appears to be imitating the ill-fated ocean liner a little too literally this morning.)

With Yahoo's (YHOO) $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr, Wall Street in 2013 finally awoke to what Avenue Q told us in 2003: "The Internet Is for Porn." National Bank of Greece (NBG), fresh from its best week in two decades, dropped 33.89% to lead all NYSE laggards. This as proud son of Athens Jamie Dimon, whose previously pristine reputation has suffered a similarly swift reversal, prepares for D-Day. An analyst initiation sent Joe's Jeans (JOEZ) jumping 1.08% and denim giant Levi's celebrated an important anniversary. Its iconic offerings outfitted the Gold Rush, but bullion now finds itself a long way from its 49ers glory days.

No top-tier economic data due today, but expect earnings announcements out of Analog Devices (ADI), AutoZone (AZO), Best Buy (BBY), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), Home Depot (HD), Medtronic (MDT), NetApp (NTAP), Saks Inc. (SKS), TJX Companies (TJX), and Vodaphone (VOD).

Acquity Group (AQ): Roth Capital reduces its recommendation to Neutral from Buy.

Beazer Homes (BZH): Sterne Agee slashes the stock to Neutral from Buy.

CarMax (KMX): KMX is cut to Market Perform from Outperform by William Blair.

Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL): The cruise company, tumbling 12.54% as I write amid a weak earnings outlook, is now Neutral from Buy at UBS.

CME Group (CME): Exchange operator CME gets cut to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.

Coach (COH): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal-Weight from Overweight.

Deutsche Bank (DB): Shares are lower in today's European trading after a Neutral-from-Overweight cut at JPMorgan.

eHealth (EHTH): Lazard lowers the equity to Neutral from Buy.

First Republic Bank (FRC): Jefferies cuts its fellow financial firm to Hold from Buy.

Franklin Resources (BEN): BEN is now Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.

Life Technologies (LIFE): Crédit Agricole lowers LIFE to Underperform from Outperform.

Mediaset (OTCMKTS:MDIUY): Silvio Berlusconi's Italian media empire is moved to Underperform from Market Perform by Sanford Bernstein.

Oil States International (OIS): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee.

Raymond James (RJF): RJF sees its rating reduced to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo.

VF Corp (VFC): Wells cuts the company, whose brands include JanSport and North Face, to Market Perform from Outperform.

WellCare Group (WCG): WCG gets downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: American Tower Stands Tall and New Stock Coverage: Future Sunny for Sony.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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