Stock Downgrades: ESPN Woes Put The Walt Disney Company in Penalty Box


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With markets naively anticipating Santa Claus, stocks were instead spooked by a man with a white beard and uncertain employment prospects. But enough about George Zimmer . For it was Fed head Ben Bernanke who sent the S&P 500 (^GSPC) slumping by the most all month the minute he opened his mouth.

Sometimes it is better to write than speak, especially on a day pen-maker AT Cross ( ATX ) hit a new all-time best. Its products are graduation gift mainstays, but for those who prefer to cut class, For Dummies owner John Wiley & Sons (JWA) bucked a brutal tape to end up after its earnings announcement.

Also swimming profitably against a rising tide of red ink was auction stock Sotheby's ( BID ), which gained 1.15%. Wall Street may not much care for starving artists, but it loves Monet Monet Monet .

We get a trifecta of economic data today at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, namely May existing home sales, leading indicators, and the Philadelphia Fed Index for June. In earnings action, expect announcement out of Kroger ( KR ), Oracle ( ORCL ), Pier 1 Imports ( PIR ), and Rite Aid (RAD).

Alcatel-Lucent SA (ALU): The French telecom firm - upgraded by more than one broker elsewhere this morning - is cut to Underperform from Hold by compatriot BNP Paribas.

Apparel Stocks : Aeropostale Inc (ARO) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) are each downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

FedEx Corporation (FDX): No love for the package delivery giant at the House of Morgan this morning. Shares are now Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan and Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Newmont Mining Corp (NEM): Cowen cuts the commodity company, currently falling 3.92% in today's pre-market trading, to Neutral from Outperform with a price objective of $31.84. Its steep valuation is cited, especially with bullion gaping down to levels not seen since September 2010 this morning.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (S): The telecom stock is taken to Hold from Buy at Argus on news that DISH Network Corp (DISH) will no longer pursue a purchase.

The Walt Disney Company (DIS): Saying an upcoming launch of News Corp's (NWSA) Fox Sports 1 represents a formidable rival to ESPN, Goldman Sachs removes the Dow (^DJI) member from its Conviction Buy List. Subsequently, shares are sliding about 2% ahead of this morning's opening bell. (For more on sports, please see Play These 6 Sports Stocks and You Just May Win Big .)

Unisource Energy Corp (UNS): Jefferies cuts the company to Hold from Buy.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Urban Outfitters, Inc. Heading Uptown and Stock Upgrades: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Is a Bargain .)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
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