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Stock Upgrades: Unilever N.V. Flies High on the Wings of Dove

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

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Amid revolution in Egypt, denial proved profitable for American equities. Wall Street decoupled from a widening crisis in Cleopatra country to end up modestly in Wednesday's truncated trading session. Ahead of July 4 barbecues, it was "south of the border"-flavored stocks that instead gave investors the most food for thought. A venerated Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) jumped 3.38% to top the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) and Taco Bell owner Yum Brands (YUM) advanced 1.46%, honesty proving its own reward for the company's customers who returned $3,600 erroneously included in a takeout bag. Meanwhile a central banker nicknamed "Chili con Carney" sent UK stocks surging yesterday with a market-friendly interest rate announcement. And on the eve of the highest calorie day of 2013, gym giant Nautilus (NLS) kept fiscally fit by gaining 3.33% to a fresh 52-week peak. This as an iron-pumping octogenarian Supreme Court member tipped the scales of justice firmly in her favor to embarrass couch potatoes everywhere.

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.

African Barrick Gold Ltd (ABGLY): Shares are now Buy from Reduce at Nomura.

Apache Corporation (APA): As oil heads inexorably higher on tumult in Egypt, Argus upgrades the energy firm to Buy from Hold. The target price is $95.

Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD): BWLD gets boosted to Buy from Hold at Miller Tabak, which also increases its price objective to $117 from $98. Record wing supplies and reduced corn feed prices each augur well, in the broker's view.

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LYG): Nomura boosts the British financial firm to Buy from Reduce, sending it up about 1.8% as I write.

Mediaset (ADR) (MDIUY): The media empire controlled by embattled ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is increased to Buy from Hold at Kepler Chevreux.

Pandora A/S (PNDZY): HSBC Securities hoists the Danish jeweler, already up about 50% this year, to Overweight from Neutral.

Randgold Resources Ltd. (GOLD): The commodity company gets raised to Neutral from Reduce at Nomura.

SABMiller plc (ADR) (SBMRY): Société Générale gives the brewing giant, among whose other offerings are Grolsch, Peroni, and Pilsner Urquell, a boost to Buy from Hold.

Seadrill Ltd (SDRL): The stock is now Buy from Neutral at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, which highlights its impressive dividend yield among other favorable factors. Shares are, accordingly, up about 2% at present.

SKY DEUTSCHLAND AG (SKDTY): Shares in the TV firm are up move than 4% at a half-decade high in today's European trading after being upgraded to Conviction Buy at Goldman Sachs. Merger potential and strong subscriptions are each cited as catalysts.

Unilever N.V. (UN): The consumer products giant, whose myriad brands include Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Dove, Lipton, and Vaseline, is moved to Buy from Hold at Société Générale.

Zoetis Inc (ZTS): Bank of America-Merrill Lynch moves the animal health outfit, a spin-off from Pfizer Inc. (PFE), to Buy from Neutral.

(See also: Stock Downgrades: Dull Ache at Heineken Holding NV, Home of 'The Most Interesting Man in the World.')
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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