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Stock Downgrades: Pinnacle Entertainment Falls From Summit

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Germany, inventor of all things Yuletide from the Christmas Tree to the Gingerbread House made its holiday presents felt last week. Bank of America (BAC) surged 6.71% to top the Dow (^DJI) after Meredith Whitney, a German history major in college, said it is succeeding admirably in getting "junk out of the trunk." Caribou Coffee (CBOU) jumped 35.02% after being bought for $340 million by Germany's Joh. A. Benckiser.

Proud Teuton Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research In Motion (RIMM), saw his stock tumble 22.74% on Friday in enduring its single worst session since September 26, 2008. Meanwhile Merck (MRK), founded in the Fatherland by Friedrich Jacob Merck, dropped 4.64% to lead all Dow laggards.

And Electronic Arts (EA), maker of a video game called Medal of Honor, nosedived 9.2%. This as we said a sad goodbye to Honolulu's Daniel Innoue, who won the real thing in the course of a well-lived life. His final word? "Aloha."

Stock markets can't wait to split this afternoon, closing early at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, and neither can Nike (NKE), which splits 2:1 in the form of a 100% stock dividend payable today. There are no quarterly earnings of note.

NYSE Euronext (NYX): NYX is now Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus after last week's steep acquisition-related increase.

O2Micro International (OIMM): Shares are now Hold from Buy at Needham as the company continues to contend with a dramatic slowdown in the notebook market.

Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE:PNK): The Vegas-based gambling company, which surged 21.35% on Friday to top the entire NYSE, is now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna. The chief concern is a steep valuation after its acquisition of Ameristar Casinos (ASCA) for about $869 million. The amended price objective is $16.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Time to Buy Fly Leasing and New Stock Coverage: General Motors Enjoys Life in the Fast Lane.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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