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Stock Downgrades: Dull Ache at Heineken Holding NV, Home of 'The Most Interesting Man in the World'


Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

While America was off eating the pork sausages and hot dogs of Bob Evans (BOBE), which hit the highest level in its history ahead of the July 4 holiday, it was the PIIGS that brought home the bacon. European equities posted their single best showing in ten weeks yesterday, paced by an impressive rebound in previously beleaguered Portugal, as pride-of-Lisbon Banco Espirito Santo (ELI:BES) surged some 12%. London's FTSE 100 Index (INDEXFTSE:UKX) jumped 3% for its strongest performance since 2011, with the newly-installed "George Clooney of central banking" clearly sweeping the "Old lady Threadneedle Street" off her feet. (Mark Carney is obviously fond of females, at least on his banknotes.)

Paying appropriate homage to the distaff side in the week we honored Miss Liberty, "Old Gray Lady" The New York Times (NYT) rose 2.57% to a fresh 52-week peak on a broker boost and Siebert Financial (SIEB), founded by the "first woman of finance", advanced 8.05%. Elsewhere Nike Inc. (NKE), named after the Greek Goddess of victory, had the last laugh on an unloved Adidas (ADDYY), which declined 1.40% amid one of the most embarrassing episodes in recent corporate history.

Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) released its results earlier today, in an otherwise quiet session for earnings announcements. Alcoa (AA) will unofficially usher in Q2 reporting season after the closing bell on Monday.

ALSTOM UNSP ADR (ALSMY): Deutsche Bank downgrades the stock to a Hold from Buy, sending it lower overseas this morning.

Celesio AG-ADR (CAKFY): The pharmacy solutions stock is cut to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Emulex Corporation (ELX): Shares are slashed to Hold from Buy at Argus following Wednesday's 14.41% surge.

HEINEKEN HOLDING NV (HKHHF): JPMorgan gives an Underweight-from-Neutral downgrade to the Dutch brewing behemoth, whose other brands include Amstel, Dos Equis - drunk by "the most interesting man in the world" - and Foster's. Amid adverse European weather and emerging market inflation, a 4% fall-off in beer volumes may occur, the bank believes.

HollyFrontier Corp (HFC): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch lowers the energy outfit to Neutral from Buy.

Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC): MPC, a strong performer in Wednesday's truncated trading session, is today moved to Neutral from Buy by Bank of America-Merrill.

Mead Johnson Nutrition CO (MJN): Morgan Stanley moves the stock, which imploded an S&P 500 (^GSPC)-worst 8.08% on Wednesday, to Equal-Weight from Overweight. Pricing headwinds are a particular worry for the pediatric nutrition name.

SAP AG (SAP): The enterprise software giant, a key Oracle Corporation (ORCL) rival, gets reduced to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

(See also: Stock Upgrades: Unilever N.V. Flies High on the Wings of Dove.)
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