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Stock Downgrades: Raining on Carnival's (NYSE:CCL) Parade

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

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Gordon Gekko celebrated a birthday along with his wife only to see the stock market slide by the most in three months. Some present, although as he has now moved on to Liberace, Michael Douglas will see the funny side. After all, September Song was one of "Mr. Showmanship's" finest records, and this has historically been the single worst month of the year in equities. Burger King (BKW), flaunting its new-found muscle, gained 3.10%. And Gangnam-based Korea Electric Power (KEP) bucked an otherwise dire day by jumping 2.70%, enabling its investors to live in the style to which they've become accustomed.

Today in economics, analysts expect an increase in August new home sales at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Progress Software (PRGS) and Worthington Industries (WOR) are among companies due to report quarterly results.

Astoria Financial (AF): Keefe Bruyette cuts the company to Underperform from Market Perform.

Bristow Group (BRS): Shares are now Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, whose price target is $52.

Carnival Corp. (NYSE:CCL) Shares in the cruise company, trading 2% higher at multi-year peaks ahead of this morning's opening bell, are nonetheless cut to Hold from Buy at Jefferies after its earnings announcement.

Chesapeake Energy (CHK): The stock is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.

Convergys (CVG): Macquarie takes the tech company to Neutral from Buy.

Electronic Arts (EA): Shares are moved to Neutral from Buy by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

Infineon (IFNNY): The company is reduced to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies.

Intel (INTC): Caris cuts the semiconductor stock, a key Dow (^DJI) component, to Above Average from Buy amid lower forecasts for PC Client segment growth. The target is taken to $26 from $29.

MarketAxess (MKTX): Shares are moved to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Marvell (MRVL): The tech outfit is taken to Hold from Speculative Buy at Canaccord due to declining demand for its products.

Oracle (ORCL): The enterprise software stock is now Neutral from Overweight at Atlantic Equities.

PACCAR (PCAR): Shares are downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Robert W. Baird due to weakening fundamentals and muted China and Brazil growth.

Public Storage (PSA): PSA is moved to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James, which sees limited upside to earnings.

SanDisk (SNDK): Shares are downgraded to Market Perform at JMP Securities.

Sigma-Aldrich (SIAL): The stock is now Neutral from Buy at UBS due to valuation.

Synnex (SNX): Shares are downgraded to Buy from Strong Buy at Needham.

Texas Instruments (TXN): TXN is taken to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Sea of Green for Transocean? (NYSE:RIG) and New Stock Coverage: Treasure in Trash at Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN).)
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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