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Stock Downgrades: Coal Stocks Not Hot


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

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL First Solar (FSLR) looks ill-equipped to rage against the dying of the light for which September is famous, tumbling 20.07% last week in posting the S&P 500's (^GSPC) poorest performance. Mark Zuckerberg met the oldest user of Facebook (FB) on Monday. On Friday, analysts pulled the oldest trick in the book - releasing bad news on a summer Friday ahead of a long weekend - to send his stock slumping 7% to a record low $18.06. And a new study showed low calorie diets don't extend life. So go ahead, eat as much junk food as you want. Just stay away from Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), which lost 30.6% this summer.

Today in economics, the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for August and July construction spending are each out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. In earnings action, Campbell Soup (CPB) and Smithfield Foods (SFD) have already reported quarterly earnings this morning.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Shares are downgraded to Underweight at Evercore.

American States Water (AWR): Shares are reduced to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird.

ARM Holdings (ARMH): The company is cut to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank due to falling smartphone chip prices and slowing earnings growth.

AutoZone (AZO): AZO is removed from the Conviction Buy list at Goldman.

Banco Santander (SAN): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy at ING Groep.

Coal Companies: Dahlman Rose downgrades Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), Peabody Energy (BTU), and Walter Energy (WLT), all to Hold from Buy. The outlook for metallurgical coal is more cloudy on account of weak market conditions.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB): The company is downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore.

Fiserv (FISV): Shares get downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, which cites valuation issues after already strong year-to-date returns.

Ingersoll-Rand (IR): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the company to Neutral from Buy.

Large Cap Financials: Amid expectations investment banking capital requirements could be larger than expected, Barclays (BCS) is downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, which gives an identical ratings reduction to Goldman Sachs (GS). Valuation is among the concerns for Goldman, whose price objective is $107.

Monolithic Power (MPWR): The firm is downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

Nvidia (NVDA): NVDA is now Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

Railroads: CSX Corp (CSX) and Norfolk Southern (NSC) are each cut to Hold from Buy at Dahlman Rose, which expresses concern that coal price declines could pressure volume and pricing.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): Shares are showing weakness in Europe today after a Hold-from-Buy reduction at Investec.

Skyworks (SWKS): The company is cut to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays.

Vodafone (VOD): The wireless-telecom titan is trading lower in London this morning after being downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by Sanford Bernstein, which expresses concerns about "an increasing number of negative operational risks."

(See also: Stock Upgrades: TiVo Rewinds to Glory Days and New Stock Coverage: Getting a Kick Out of Manchester United.)

(See also: SEC Says Retail Investors Are Clueless About Stocks.)
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