Research Analysts’ downgrades for Monday, August 21st:

Actuant Corporation (NYSE:ATU) was downgraded by analysts at Wolfe Research from a market perform rating to an underperform rating.

British Land Company PLC Sponsored ADR (OTCMKTS:BTLCY) was downgraded by analysts at HSBC Holdings plc from a buy rating to a hold rating.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “We are pleased with Delta’s performance with respect to Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM: a key measure of unit revenue).The impressive performance is expected to continue. The metric is expected to increase in the band of of 2.5% to 4.5% (on a year-over-year basis) in the third quarter. We are also impressed by the company's efforts to reward its shareholders through dividends and buybacks. Efforts to reduce its debt levels also please us. However, high costs continue to hurt the bottom line. In fact, Delta underperformed in the second quarter mainly due to elevated costs. Labor costs have surged due to the various labor deals inked by the company. Consequently, shares of the company have underperformed its industry so far this year. High labor costs are likely to hurt the bottom line in the third quarter as well.”

Deere & (NYSE:DE) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Deere’s top and bottom line both improved year over year in the third quarter fiscal 2017. Earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but sales missed the consensus mark. The company raised total equipment sales growth outlook to about 10% year over year for fiscal 2017 and projects 24% growth for the fiscal fourth quarter. For fiscal 2017, Deere projects net income to be roughly $2.075 billion. The company will gain from continued strength in income growth and food demand, growing investment in construction and improvement in Brazil. The pending Wirtgen acquisition also remains a tailwind. The stock has outperformed the industry in the last one year. However, tapering global grain supply use balance, weakness in the livestock sector and low-crop prices will hurt Deere’s growth. Further, unfavorable impacts of raw material prices and rising expenses remain headwinds.”

Estee Lauder Companies, Inc. (The) (NYSE:EL) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Estée Lauder continued to impress investors with better-than-expected earnings for 12 straight quarters, with the fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 being no exception. Results for the fourth quarter were mainly driven by the acquisitions of BECCA and Too Faced. The quarter also depicted strong online sales growth and an increase in almost all the brands, geographic regions and product categories. Its Leading Beauty Forward initiative has also aided inducing efficiency in cost and resource allocation. The company’s sturdy performance is well reflected in its share performance, which outpaced the industry over the past one year. However, slower retail growth in Hong Kong owing to political issues has been posing worries for the company for quite a while now. The company’s performance also remains challenged by the declining store traffic in the U.S. and unfavorable currency translations.”

Microsemi Corporation (NASDAQ:MSCC) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Microsemi Corporation is an OEM of a broad range of high-reliability and analog/mixed signal integrated circuits. third-quarter fiscal 2017 non-GAAP earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate while revenues were in line with the same. The company's focus on improving product mix, operational efficiency, and consolidation are driving revenues and margins through 2017. Moreover, we have confidence in the company's strategic positioning, strong fundamentals and growth prospects. Microsemi's scope for margin expansion and decent balance sheet are the other positives. However, pockets of weakness related to product transition at medical customers, push-out of some communications spending in China and a softer oil & gas market continue to impact revenues. Over the last one year, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

Royal Bank Of Canada (NYSE:RY) (TSE:RY) was downgraded by analysts at Scotiabank from an outperform rating to a sector perform rating.

Royal Bank Of Canada (NYSE:RY) (TSE:RY) was downgraded by analysts at Howard Weil to a sector perform rating.

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Target’s initiatives such as the development of omni-channel capacities, diversification and localization of assortments along with emphasis on flexible format stores bode well for the stock that outpaced the industry in the past three months. Management plans to expand its merchandise assortments with special emphasis on Style, Baby, Kids, and Wellness categories that are performing well. Moreover, Target is also concentrating on rationalization of supply chain, technology and process improvements. These initiatives helped it to continue with its upbeat performance in fiscal 2017 as reflected from impressive second-quarter results and an encouraging earnings outlook. These endeavours are also important due to changing retail landscape that encompasses increasing online penetration and aggressive pricing that may hurt sales and margins. The company expects fiscal 2017 comparable sales growth to be in a range around flat, plus or minus 1%.”

Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) was downgraded by analysts at OTR Global to a positive rating.

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a buy rating to a hold rating. According to Zacks, “Walmart’s both earnings and revenues exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate in second-quarter fiscal 2018. The company has also raised the lower end of its fiscal 2018 earnings guidance. Notably, share price of Walmart has been outperforming the industry for the last six months. Encouragingly, the company is making efforts to boost sales and remains focused on building its e-Commerce capabilities and foraying into new markets through acquisitions. The company has posted positive comps at Walmart U.S. for 12 successive quarters. Further, the company’s acquisition of four e-Commerce businesses since the Jet.com acquisition is in line with its efforts to grow online activities. However, the company remains concerned due to currency headwinds, decline in international revenues, stiff competition from both brick and mortar and online retailers and huge investments in e-Commerce activities leading to margin pressure.”

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