Stocks are hitting new highs ahead of Friday’s payrolls report, and investors are looking for upside while wanting to not get caught in the next sell-off. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning. We are hunting for new ideas, some of which are stocks to buy and some of which are stocks to sell. These are this Thursday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was noted by Canaccord Genuity as having its wireless surveys indicate seasonally soft sales ahead of high-tier Android refresh in April.
BB&T Corp. (NYSE: BBT) was downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy by Raymond James.
Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) was started as Outperform at Sanford Bernstein.
Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.
Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSE: LNG) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) was started as Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets.
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was lowered all the way to $52 from $61 by Sterne Agee. Citi recently took on a Sell rating as well after its poor handling of the dividend news and stress test disappointments.
ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) was started as Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets.
Deutsche Bank A.G. (NYSE: DB) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at J.P. Morgan.
Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was started as Hold at Jefferies.
Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Cowen and Co.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was started as Outperform at Cowen and was started as Underperform at BMO Capital Markets.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $30 price target at Piper Jaffray. Also see how Intel will move away from the PC.
Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at J.P. Morgan.
Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, was started as Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets.
Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $90 from $86 at Canaccord Genuity, as the chip-maker is well positioned to benefit from China and the upcoming Android and iPhone upgrades.
VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) was downgraded to Underweight from Neutral and the price target was cut to $3 from $8 at Piper Jaffray.