Investors are having to deal with seeing stocks hit new highs almost daily now. With a temporary deal in Washington, D.C., and with earnings coming on strong, investors are caught trying to decide which stocks to buy and which to sell. Every morning, 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of Wall Street analyst research notes in order to find new ideas for our readers. These are this Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.
Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) was raised to Buy from Hold at Jefferies after strong earnings; shares are trading up 7% at all-time highs. Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating but raised the price target to $190 from $177.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.
BP PLC (NYSE: BP) was raised to Buy from Hold at Soc-Gen.
CAI International Inc. (NYSE: CAP) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
Chesapeake Granite Wash Trust (NYSE: CHKR) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs based on expectations of a lower distribution (dividend) ahead.
Cobalt International Energy Inc. (NYSE: CIE) was reiterated Outperform on recent weakness, and the price target is $40 (versus a $23.12 close), at Credit Suisse.
3D Systems Inc. (NYSE: DDD) was reiterated as Outperform after earnings weakness, and the price target was raised to $65 from $62, at Credit Suisse.
Ecolab Inc. (NYSE: ECL) was started as Buy at UBS; Canaccord Genuity reiterated its Buy rating and raised the price target to $120 from $110.
Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) was reiterated as Buy with a $54 price target, despite slightly lowered earnings expectations, from Argus.
Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) was reiterated as Outperform and the ADRs were given the equivalent of 21% upside (after converting the price in euros) by Credit Suisse; Canaccord Genuity raised the ADR price target to $8.00 from $5.00 after backing out the sale of the unit.
Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) was started as Neutral at Sterne Agee.
SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy on valuation after its huge run up, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Willis Group Holdings PLC (NYSE: WSH) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch based on lower margin expansion.
Jefferies has identified top LBO and M&A candidates in the technology sector.