Stock Downgrades: General Mills, Inc. Didn't Eat Its Wheaties

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So whose bright idea was it to have National Relaxation Day coincide with Wall Street's most stressful session in months? The Dow (^DJI) again dropped by triple-digits although, as that newly media savvy 123-year-old kid could tell you, perspective is everything and this too shall pass. (Don't get him started on the Panic of 1890 , which our Bolivian friend witnessed firsthand.) USA Today owner Gannett ( GCI ) bore the brunt of the red ink, falling 5.08% after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) dumped it in droves . Don't believe everything you read, then. Especially in its pages, where Omaha's oracle recently gushed, " It's almost unnatural how much I love newspapers ."

Today in economics, analysts expect an improvement in the University of Michigan's preliminary August consumer sentiment survey at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. On the earnings front, Ann Inc. ( ANN ), A.P. Møller-Mærsk ( AMKBY ), Buckle ( BKE ), Enstar Group ( ESGR ), Foot Locker (FL), and Main Street Capital (MAIN) are all due to report results.

Alcoa (AA): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch cuts the key Dow (^DJI) component to Underperform from Neutral.

Aviva (AV): The life insurer is lowered to Neutral from Outperform by BNP Paribas.

Colgate-Palmolive (CL): CL is cut to Hold from Buy at Argus.

Dangdang (DANG): China's Internet company DANG gets downgraded to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Deutsche Lufthansa (DLAKY): Morgan Stanley moves the air carrier to Equal-Weight from Overweight, sending it down more than 3% overseas this morning.

Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS): Shares, still rated Overweight, are nonetheless pulled from JPMorgan's Focus list of favored equities. Same-store sales are seen as falling short of Street projections for a third straight quarter.

General Mills, Inc. (GIS): The packaged foods powerhouse, whose brands include Cheerios and Wheaties, gets downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies. (Although as scary cereal stories go, that's still better than finding a mouse jaw in your muesli .) The broker notes that GIS is trying to protect its profit margins by reducing its advertising expenditures.

Noble Energy (NBL): ISI Group gives the oil services outfit a Buy-from-Strong Buy downgrade.

Nordstrom (JWN): Sterne Agee reduces the upscale retailer to Neutral from Buy. Shares are tumbling about 2% as I write, after the company gave disappointing earnings guidance.

Noranda Aluminum (NOR): NOR is now Underperform from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill.

Portugal Telecom (PT): Shares are sharply lower in today's European trading after getting taken to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, which says heightened capital requirements are a potential worry.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB): Brokerage boutique B. Riley takes the fast food name to Neutral from Buy.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): The British financial firm is reduced to Sell from Hold at Investec.

Semiconductors: Linear Technology (LLTC) and Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) are each lowered to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

STMicroelectronics (STM): HSBC Securities slashes the stock to Underweight from Neutral at HSBC.

Transocean (RIG): The oil services stock gets downgraded to Underweight from Overweight at Johnson Rice.

Volterra Semiconductor (VLTR): Shares are now Hold from Buy at both Deutsche Bank and Needham.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Pandora Media Inc Is Music to Investors' Ears and New Stock Coverage: Movado Group, Inc Has Time on Its Side . )



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



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AMKBY , ANN , BKE , ESGR , GCI

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