Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Arch Coal, Groupon, Juniper and More

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Stocks are still within striking distance of all-time highs going into year-end and 2014. That means that investors have to figure out how to position their assets and portfolios for 2014 when the stock market is higher than it has ever been. 24/7 Wall St. spends each morning reviewing Wall Street analyst reports. The goal is to find new investment or trading ideas. Some calls are of stocks to buy, and some are about stocks to sell. These are this Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) saw a very slight move in analyst coverage on Wednesday. J.P. Morgan has raised its price target to $615 from $600 (versus a $554.99 close), but the firm also noted mixed segment trends. Its iPad estimates were trimmed slightly. Key drivers could come from the iPhone 5S upgrade cycle and from the China Mobile deal. J.P. Morgan’s 2014 EPS estimate was raised to $45.53 from $44.89 after the next three quarters were given slight boosts. This represents only about 12 times expected earnings.

Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) is in the unloved coal sector and is still trading at a very low price. Sterne Agee recently had a meeting with its management team and decided to reaffirm its Buy rating and $7.00 price target. This represents close to 73% upside from the $4.08 closing price and compares to a consensus price target of almost $5.00. The analysts said:

After completing its most recent debt refinancing, Arch enters 2014 with an improved operating cost, capital spend, and liquidity profile relative to 2013. Management appears optimistic on a PRB pricing upturn as user stockpiles dwindle while met coal pricing consolidates as oversupply trends diminish through 2014. As markets and pricing normalize, ACI shares should benefit cyclically.

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) was started with a Buy rating and with a $13 price target at Northland Securities. Groupon shares closed at$10.67 on Tuesday, against a 52-week range of $4.24 to $12.76. The Thomson Reuters consensus price target is $11.81, and the highest price target remains $16.00 for the daily deals site. The firm believes that the transition from a push-based daily deals site to a more diversified and targeted pull-based global commerce marketplace is succeeding.

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) was reiterated as Buy with a $28 price target (versus a $20.96 close) at Argus after the acquisition of Wandl. The firm is also positive on the addition of Shaygan Kheradpir as its new CEO for 2014. Juniper’s consensus price target is only $22.40 and Argus has the highest price target on Wall Street.

Other analyst calls worth noting are as follows:

Avon Products Inc. (NYSE: AVP) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. (NYSE: DVA) was started with a Buy rating at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. (NYSE: EEP) was started as Neutral with a $32 price target at Credit Suisse.

Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at J.P. Morgan.

Pan American Silver Corp. (NASDAQ: PAAS) was raised to a Neutral rating from Underweight at J.P. Morgan.

Solera Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SLH) was started as Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

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