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Stock Downgrades: Waste Management, Inc. Sent to Sin Bin

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

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The Land of the Rising Sun continued to drag stocks down. (Not least First Solar (FSLR), which fell 10.76% in posting the S&P 500′s (^GSPC) single poorest performance.)

The Wall Street Journal was either clairvoyant or crazy like a fox in starting the week with a front page story about brokers who are embracing the healing properties of yoga. Since that article ran, Lululemon (LULU) has tumbled about 20%, yet such a shameful stock performance may ironically send more practitioners its way in search of some desperately-needed inner calm.

Elsewhere, Dole Food (DOLE) took its two day advance to 22.16%, even as the overall market implodes. There's only one quicker way to get high with bananas, and it ain't legal.

Today in economics, April business inventories are expected to tick up slightly at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On the corporate front, Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Casey's General Stores (CASY) are both due to report results.

AngloGold Ashanti Limited (ADR) (AU): Société Générale slashes the commodity company to Sell from Hold.

Banco Santander, S.A. (ADR) (SAN): The Spanish financial firm gets moved to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Cosi Inc (COSI): Shares are now Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital.

Republic Services, Inc. (RSG): RSG gets removed from Goldman Sachs' list of Conviction Buys.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS): The slumping shares are reduced to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank, which is troubled by the departure of CEO Stephen Hester.

Safeway Inc. (SWY): Shares in the grocery giant, surging some 25.5% before the bell on a big Canadian deal, get downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Smithfield Foods, Inc. (SFD): The pork producer, currently a takeover target, is now Neutral from Buy at Davenport.

Vantage Drilling Company (VTG): Wells Fargo cuts the small cap stock to Market Perform from Outperform.

Waste Management, Inc. (WM): Shares get downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman due to valuation concerns.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: American Express Company Set to Stall? and Stock Upgrades: Bulls Run on Adidas AG.)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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