Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alcatel-Lucent, Bed Bath & Beyond, J.C. Penney and More

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The first full trading week of 2014 is bringing many analyst outlook changes on key stocks. This is at the same time that investors are continuing to position themselves for the year ahead. 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 Thursday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.

Alcatel-Lucent S.A. (NYSE: ALU) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank. Another cautious note was issued by Bernstein; the firm maintained its Market Perform rating and price target that converts to downside of about 18% in ADR terms, saying that its mobile network operations lack scale at the same time the wireline and optical businesses are without growth. Bernstein also said that the “Shift Plan” has unrealistic revenue growth expectations.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) was downgraded to Neutral and the price target was cut to $78 from $85 at Credit Suisse. Canaccord Genuity lowered its price target to $73 from $84 after the earnings report. Oppenheimer lowered its target to $86.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with an $11 price target at Piper Jaffray. This call stands out handily after the stock sold off 10% due to a poor sales reception on Wednesday, but now we have shares indicated up more than 3% on the upgrade.

Deutsche Bank has adjusted its price targets in European telecom equipment players. Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) was maintained as Buy and is called to be among the most attractive with low market expectations. Unfortunately, it trimmed its price target in Europe from roughly 13% upside to about 10% upside. Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) was maintained as a Hold at Deutsche bank, but the price target was raised to downside expectations to -12% versus about -20% previously.

Other key analyst calls were as follows:

Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with an $83 price target at Credit Suisse.

Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen & Co.

ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank.

Deckers Outdoor Corp. (NASDAQ: DECK) was reiterated as Buy and given a new $111 price target with higher earnings estimates at Canaccord Genuity.

E*Trade Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: ETFC) was started as Buy with a $23 price target at Nomura Securities.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was raised to Buy from Hold with a price target of $108 at Jefferies.

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $64 from $55 at Stifel Nicolaus.

Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight, but the price target was raised to $115 from $113, at J.P. Morgan.

NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $16 price target at Canaccord Genuity.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM) was raised to Buy with a $68 price target (versus a $59.66 close) at Argus.

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