Stock Downgrades: Wal-Mart Hits Brick Wall

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Stocks finished mixed in mushy trading, with Dow Industrials (^DJI) dropping even as the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) hit another new high. Such an indecisive outcome was no way to honor Joe Louis on his birthday , for the legendary boxer didn't do split decisions.

There was something in the water in Orlando, with SeaWorld ( SEAS ) surging 4.84%, Disney ( DIS ) ending at an all-time best, and BlackBerry ( BBRY ) bouncing 2.19% as it begins a three-day conference in Florida's third largest city. Liberal lion the New York Times ( NYT ) and Republican standard bearer Mitt Romney rarely find themselves on the same page, but a mutual loathing of Tesla Motors (TSLA) unites both. Not that the auto outfit will care one whit after it followed up last week's 40.7% increase by advancing another 14.3%.

Elsewhere, love was in the air for Spark Networks (LOV), with the owner of JDate and ChristianMingle jumping 7.05% on a broker boost , and the answer was blowing in the wind for an upgraded Vestas Wind Systems (OTCMKTS:VWDRY) after its 10.85% increase.

Today's quarterly earnings announcements are expected to include Agilent Technologies (A), Eagle Materials (EXP), Sharp (OTCMKTS:SHCAY), and Valspar (VAL).

Alere (ALR): Craig Hallum cuts the company to Hold from Buy.

Bank of Montreal (BMO): Morgan Stanley moves its fellow financial firm to Underweight from Equal-Weight.

Cree Inc. (CREE): Shares are tumbling 2.8% after being slashed to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee.

KB Home (KBH): Raymond James cuts KBH to Perform from Outperform.

Melco Crown Entertainment (MPEL): MPEL is moved to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Oil States (OIS): OIS is downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&T Capital.

Patterson Companies (PDCO): Shares are downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $40 target price at WallachBeth, which says the risk/reward is unattractive at current levels.

SolarCity (SCTY): Shares, slumping before the bell, are now Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

VIVUS, Inc. (VVUS): The weight loss stock is shedding 1.5% before the bell after being lowered to Neutral from Buy at Lazard.

Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT ): The Dow (^DJI) member is dropping 0.6% this morning after being removed from Citigroup's Top Picks Live list. February sales were weak, the bank notes.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Disney Still The Big Cheese and Stock Upgrades: Royal Bank of Canada Stock Heads North )



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: BBRY , DIS , NYT , SEAS , WMT

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