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Stock Downgrades: Sky Falls in on Cloud Peak Energy

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

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Back in the day they used to say, "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium," and indeed the European Union did have much to ponder in its Brussels headquarters yesterday. Not least its unemployment rate rising to a record 12.1% while he who was without Sinn squabbled with Soros over who cast the first stone.

But now the week's second day is all about its utter invincibility on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, with Dow Industrials (^DJI) having just risen for a remarkable 16th straight Tuesday. Aéropostale (ARO), whose shirts celebrate one of Wall Street's worst years, jumped 3.90% but there was no check in the mail at Stamford Connecticut's own Pitney Bowes (PBI), whose citizens are usually to be found counting their cash. The postage meter powerhouse plunged 15.62% in posting the S&P 500′s (^GSPC) poorest performance.

And blunt talking George W. Bush, who once told CNN's Candy Crowley, "In Texas, we don't do Nuance (NUAN)," was right on the money as that stock - downgraded this morning - imploded 18.28%.

Today in economics, March construction spending and April's Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index are each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to announce its decision on interest rates at 2:00 p.m. On the earnings front, Allstate (ALL), CBS Corporation (CBS), Comcast (CMCSA), Facebook (FB), Humana (HUM),MasterCard (MA), Merck (MRK), Time Warner (TWX), Visa (V), and Yelp Inc. (YELP) are all due to release results.

Arlington Asset Investment (AI): AI is taken to Hold from Buy with Wunderlich.

Biogen Idec (BIIB): Shares are removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.

Cloud Peak Energy (NYSE:CLD): The stock is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Brean Capital after its first quarter per share earnings missed expectations by a substantial $0.16.

Crimson Exploration (CXPO): The stock is downgraded to Hold from Buy at MLV & Co, whose target is $3.19.

Eastman (EMN): Crédit Agricole cuts the chemical company, which has had a rough week, to Outperform from Buy.

Entropic Communications (ENTR): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham due to excess inventory at Comcast (CMCSA) among other issues.

Edison International (EIX): EIX is now Neutral from Buy at ISI Group.

Fiserv (FISV): Shares are downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

LSI Corporation (LSI): LSI gets lowered to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, sending it down this morning.

Magellan Health (MGLN): Citigroup moves the stock to Neutral from Buy.

MicroStrategy (MSTR): Shares are downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Nuance Communications (NUAN): NUAN is now Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

ONEOK (OKE): The stock is downgraded to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Oil & Gas: Breitburn Energy (BBEP) and EV Energy (EVEP) are now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Portugal Telecom (PT): Goldman pulls the firm from its Conviction Buy List.

Qiagen (QGEN): Shares are taken to Equal Weight from Overweight by Barclays.

Reed Elsevier (RUK): A second downgrade of the week for this European publishing powerhouse, which owns the LexisNexis legal database and New Scientist magazine. Today it is taken to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Berkshire's Buffett Provides Feast for Investors and Stock Upgrades: Trulia Is the Real Deal.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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