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Stock Downgrades: World Wrestling Entertainment Is Out for the Count

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

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World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE) suffers a knockout blow today, with shares falling some 43.55% as we speak. It issued a pessimistic subscriber projection for its recently-launched online television network. In reducing their rating today, analysts at Benchmark prophetically wrote in a note that "The company's valuation could take a heavy beating this morning, as the new domestic TV deal with [NBCUniversal] likely disappointed investors."
 
Stocks suffered a sucker punch from small, mediums, and large. The small cap Russell 2000 Index (INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) entered correction territory, market soothsayers turned awfully ominous, and Bentonville behemoth Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) tumbled a Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI)-worst 2.43%. The habitual inflation doves who keep telling us there is "nothing to see here, folks" may soon be told to "go fly a kite" as food prices jumped for a fourth straight month. Fixed income action was especially interesting, with bonds enjoying their single best session since early February. The first couple, whose financial records just revealed most of their money is in Treasuries, are apparently on the money.
 
Today in economics, the preliminary Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey for May is expected to tick up from April's final figure at 9:55 EDT. On the corporate front, Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ) and Constellium (NYSE:CSTM) each announced quarterly earnings earlier this morning.
 
Now let's analyze this morning's rating reductions, a group that encompasses not only our aforementioned World Wrestling Entertainment but also a couple of insurance outfits.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF): Macquarie moves the iron ore outfit to Underperform from Neutral.
 
Insurance Stocks: Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowers Assurant (NYSE:AIZ) to Underperform from Neutral and takes Torchmark (NYSE:TMK) to Neutral from Buy.
 
Mechel Steel (NYSE:MTL): The commodity company is now Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.
 
VOXX International (NASDAQ:VOXX): Shares get downgraded to Buy from Strong Buy at Needham, which cites weaker than expected fourth-quarter earnings. Its price objective, previously $20, is slashed by $7.
 
Walter Investment Management (NYSE:WAC): Jefferies takes the equity to Hold from Buy.
 
World Wrestling Entertainment: The suffering stock gets slashed to Hold from Buy at The Benchmark Company.
 
Also see:

New Stock Coverage: BlackRock Is on a Roll

Stock Upgrades:
Nordstrom Racks Up Riches
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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