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Stock Upgrades: Soccer Sponsor Hewlett-Packard Kicks Off World Cup in Style


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

When he wore a younger man's clothes, Team USA's World Cup coach Jürgen Klinsmann had Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQemblazoned on his kit. Today the tech titan, a longtime sponsor of English fútbol club Tottenham Hotspur won't lose any investors their shirts. Indeed its stock is up 1.20% before the bell, this after being boosted by a broker who came away from the company's Discover event in Las Vegas increasingly convinced that management turnaround efforts are on track.
On the eve of Father's Day, not even a chip off the old Block could save shares. Semiconductor stock Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU), which rose 5.02% on a broker boost, and tax titan H&R (NYSE:HRB), up 4.62% on impressive earnings, were the S&P 500′s (INDEXSP:.INX) top-two stocks, yet both the benchmark bourse and Dow Industrials (INDEXDJX:.DJI) beat a retreat. (Another Chip, the headline-hogging Mr. Wilson of Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) infamy, is seeing his stock options implode some 17% before the bell, but he comfortably remains one of the millionaires now on almost every block.) Steakhouse owners Bloomin' Brands (NASDAQ:BLMN) and Ruth's Hospitality (NASDAQ:RUTH), which rose a respective 0.09% and 0.16%, both bucked the market's worst day for three weeks This will be scant solace to Eric Cantor, flush enough with cash to somehow spend $168,637 on filet mignon yet still relieved of his powerful position as majority leader. He is now out of the House, but World Bank head rapper Jim Yong Kim has always been in da house. Yesterday his organization spooked investors by cutting its annual global growth forecast to 2.8%. While blue chips saw their winning streak snapped at five, five-time World Cup winner Brazil soon hopes to experience the joy of six. Yesterday Rio's own Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) -- the hometown hero pick of our tournament portfolio -- beat back red tape elsewhere to rise an impressive 2.35%. The competition could cut trading volume again this week, with Brazil stock trading halted today as the country comes to a standstill. Exactly 20 years ago today, an event occurred whose culmination was to cut trading volume by a remarkable 41%. My how time -- much like the ex-mouthpiece of Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) once did -- flies.
Today in economics, April business inventories are forecast to come in essentially unchanged from the prior month's pace at 10:00 a.m. EDT. On the earnings front, Finisar (NASDAQ:FNSR), Lands' End (NASDAQ:LE), and Lululemon Athletica all release results.
Now let's analyze this morning's upgrades, a group encompassing both a biotech and beer behemoth as well as our aforementioned Hewlett-Packard.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ACHN): The stock, on a rocket to the moon this week, gets upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS.
Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM): Crédit Agricole raises boosts the stock by a dramatic-sounding Outperform from Underperform, but this is actually only one notch in its ratings nomenclature.
FactSet (NYSE:FDS): Shares are raised to Perform from Underperform at Raymond James.
Hewlett-Packard: Today's headline upgrade is now Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.
ImmunoGen (NASDAQ:IMGN): UBS increases its investment assessment to Neutral from Sell.
Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ:SFM): The stock is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
SVB Financial (NASDAQ:SIVB): Citing both improved earnings power and good growth prospects, RBC Capital Markets moves the equity to Outperform from Perform. Its price objective, previously $115, increases to $135.
Triumph Group (NYSE:TGI): TGI gets taken to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO): Citigroup adds the stock to its US Focus List of favored equities.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: Sports Store Cabela's Set to Score as World Cup Starts?
Stock Downgrades: Blame It on Rio: Brazil's Vale Gets No World Cup Boost
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