We are halfway through the first full week of trading in 2014. Analysts are out in droves with many ratings changes this week, and some stocks have managed to pull back from their highs as investors are continuing to position themselves for this year. 24/7 Wall St. reviews many Wall Street analyst research reports each morning of the week to find new investment ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst calls are stocks to buy, while others are stocks to sell. These are this Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) was started as Buy and with a $19 price target at Jefferies. This is above the consensus estimate, and we would point out that its shares had risen above its consensus price target already. In our own bullish and bearish case for Bank of America in 2014, we did note that book value is still listed above $20 per share.
Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) rose after earnings Tuesday evening, and now analysts are chiming in. Jefferies believes that peer estimates from other firms will rise closer to its street-high estimates. Sterne Agee reiterated its Buy rating and raised the price target to $28 from $26. Credit Suisse raised its price target to $30 from $26.
Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) had a strong 2013, and we have dueling analyst calls on Wednesday. Credit Suisse started it with an Outperform rating, while UBS started it with only a Neutral rating, now that its valuation has surged so much.
Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) has been selling off due to the Morgan Stanley downgrade and other recent downgrades. The valuations had just become crazy. Now we have cantor Fitzgerald jumping in, downgrading twitter to Sell from Hold. Cantor’s price target is $32, nearly half of the $61.46 close, and this compares to a post-IPO low of $74.74.
Other key analyst calls were as follows:
CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.
Deutsche Bank A.G. (NYSE: DB) was started as Hold at Societe Generale.
Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was lowered to $19 at Deutsche Bank.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) was started as Sell at Societe Generale.
IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc. (NYSE: ICE) was started as Neutral at Citigroup.
Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI) was downgraded to Hold from Buy, and the estimates were cut as well, at Argus.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) was started as Buy and with a $66 price target by Jefferies.
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo. Credit Suisse started the Golden Arches with only a Neutral rating in a new restaurant coverage theme.
MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup (also see below).
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) was started as Hold at Societe Generale.
NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. (NASDAQ: NDAQ) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.
Rite Aid Inc. (NYSE: RAD) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at J.P. Morgan.
SAP A.G. (NYSE: SAP) was raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS.
Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.
UBS A.G. (NYSE: UBS) was started as Buy at Societe Generale.
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
Credit Suisse made two insurance changes on its key U.S. Focus List: the firm added American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) to the U.S. Focus List but removed MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET).
J.P. Morgan has also issued its top biotech picks for 2014 as well. This call is on the heels of two other biotech analyst calls recently: biotechs with 50% and higher implied upside and biotechs trading under $10 with big upside.