Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Groupon, Nordstrom, Seagate, Walmart, Whole Foods and More

February 21, 2014 by Jon C. Ogg

Monkey evil
Source: Jon Ogg in NYC
Stocks are back to within striking distance of their highs, earnings season is winding down and investors and analysts keep looking to properly balance their expectations for the rest of the year. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of Wall Street analyst research reports each morning for new ideas. Some of these turn out to be stocks to buy, while others are stocks to sell. These are this Friday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) was downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets. Bank of America Merrill Lynch also lowered its target to $11 from $13, and Evercore Partners slashed its target to $8. Credit Suisse lowered estimates and maintained a Neutral rating as well.

Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel; Macquarie also lowered its price target, and Sterne Agee lowered its price target to $54 from $57 while maintaining a Neutral rating. Credit Suisse lowered estimates and maintained a Neutral rating as well.

Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform with a $60 price target at RBC Capital Markets.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus, and the firm removed its price target after earnings and 2014 guidance.

Whole Foods Market Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) was started with an Outperform rating and with a $63 price target at Oppenheimer. At $52.35, Whole Foods shares are now down $13 from their peak, and the consensus price target is closer to $59.50.

Other Key Analyst Calls

International Rectifier Corp. (NYSE: IRF) was started as Buy with a $30 price target at Stifel Nicolaus.

National CineMedia Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley, and it was also downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.

Oshkosh Corp. (NYSE: OSK) was reinstated with a Buy rating and with a $65 price target at Merrill Lynch.

Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. (NYSE: RH) was started as Buy with a $73 price target at BB&T Capital Markets.

Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE: SIG) was raised to Buy with a $120 price target at Sterne Agee, based on the Zale merger.

Total S.A. (NYSE: TOT) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

WCI Communities Inc. (NASDAQ: WCIC) was started with a Buy rating at Sterne Agee.

XenoPort Inc. (NASDAQ: XNPT) was reinstated as Outperform and the price target was set at $7 (versus a $5.89 close) by Credit Suisse.