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Stock Upgrades: World Cup a Messi Business? Adidas Can Clean Up


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

Even as the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) endured its second straight triple-digit down day, Adidas (OTCMKTS:ADDYY) -- the purest soccer play in our World Cup portfolio -- advanced an impressive 1.09%. The athletic apparel outfit is expected to see a big boost from events in Brazil. Argentina's superstar captain, the incomparable Lionel Messi, has been swaddled in Adidas ever since the tender age of 18, and will aim to shoot his country to tournament glory while wearing the company's F50 boots.
German native Henry Kissinger, as a huge fútbol fan, will be delighted to see the Fatherland's own Adidas doing so well on the eve of Father's Day. Our former Secretary of State, when asked who he wanted to win the Iran-Iraq war, famously deadpanned: "Can't they both lose?" Indeed. Thanks to more mayhem in Mesopotamia, there were no winners on Wall Street yesterday by the time trading wrapped up at 4 p.m. Eastern, which, oddly enough, was the precise moment soccer's World Cup started. Tom Lehrer, in an equally memorable remark, said that Mr. Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace Prize was the "day satire died." Yet irony evidently remains alive and well, to judge by the surreal sight of eternal enemies who fought a bloody battle between 1980 and 1988 now suddenly working side by side against Sunnis as the Shiite hits the fan. A subsequent spike in oil prices sent the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) slumping, although one proud son of Persia -- Twitter's (NYSE:TWTR) erstwhile COO Ali Rowghani -- saw his stock surge 3.52% on news he got the boot. (Quite the backhanded compliment.) Stock exchanges across Europe, which got a late start due to technology gremlins, would have been better taking the day off entirely, as did Brazil. Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG), whose spokesman has an impenetrable Edinburgh accent, gave back 3.21% after the facilitator of luscious lawns forecast flat sales. Still, the English -- all smug about Harry Potter having just joined their cause against the Tartan Army -- better stop snickering. After all, they are about to kick off on a cow pasture against fellow top seeds Italy. And speaking of the country shaped like a boot, native son Natuzzi (NYSE:NTZ), maker of couches and love seats, nosedived 3.11% even as Teutons took their sofas outside to watch the games start in South America.
Today in economics, the University of Michigan's preliminary June consumer sentiment survey is expected to tick up from May's final figure at 9:55 a.m. Eastern.

Now let's analyze this morning's analyst upgrades, a group encompassing a resurgent semiconductor stock as well as our aforementioned Adidas.

Accuray (NASDAQ:ARAY): JPMorgan moves the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight.
Adidas: Today's headline upgrade gets a Buy-from-Hold boost at Bankhaus Lampe.
Alcoa (NYSE:AA): BMO Capital raises the commodity company to Market Perform from Underperform.
Education Realty Trust (NYSE:EDR): Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifts its investment assessment to Buy from Neutral.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC): The Blue Chip chip stock, a key Dow component, is currently surging some 7.01% before the bell. Today it gets upgraded by both Morgan Stanley (Equal Weight from Underweight) and Roth Capital (Buy from Neutral).
Nimble Storage (NYSE:NMBL): Raymond James juices NMBL to Strong Buy, sending it up sharply ahead of the open.
Penn Virginia (NYSE:PVA): Shares are hoisted to Buy from Hold at Stifel.
Puma (OTCMKTS:PMMAF): Bankhaus Lampe lifts the sports apparel stock to Buy from Hold.
Stericycle (NASDAQ:SRCL): Shares get raised to Outperform from Perform by Robert W. Baird.

Also see:

New Stock Coverage: With Iraq Aflame, Oil's Well at Occidental Petroleum

Stock Downgrades: Another Kick in the Pants for Lululemon
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