National CineMedia took it on the chin as investors reacted to its announcement late yesterday that the softening economy will cause the theater ad sales firm to fall short of its 2011 earnings projections. The stock closed at $12.01, down 18.6% for the day — and bringing its loss for 2011 to 39.7%. Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy,” saying that “NCM is proving less resilient than more diversified TV networks, and the economy looks like a growing drag” on scatter market advertising. Barclay’s Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente reduced his price target for the stock to $16 from $19 warning that there may be a “pull back on cinema advertising since it is the most premium priced ad medium.”

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