Bear Stearns issued a downgrade on Hershey earlier today, cutting the candy king to underperform from peer perform. Elaborating on its shift in opinion, the broker stated that it believes incoming HSY CEO David West will face intense pressure from the company's board to improve long-term operating performance. As a result, higher research and development costs could arise, in addition to increased marketing expenses.

What's more, Bear Stearns is dubious about the company's new management team, since 8 board members resigned earlier this week. In a statement to clients, the broker said it feels valuable consumer wisdom may have been lost when these executives jumped ship.

Things have just gone from bad to more bad with regard to HSY. News of the management shake up caused a flutter of bullish activity in the shares, which was quickly thwarted by technical resistance in the form of the stock's 10-day and 20-day moving averages. Today's downgrade has sent the stock nearly 4% lower, putting it solidly back below these short-term trendlines. The equity is also a mere chip-shot away from hitting a new 3-1/2-year low. Check out Jocelynn's Behind the Headlines piece from earlier this week for a look at the Expectational Analysis backdrop of this underperforming stock.