Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Altria, Gap, Qualcomm, Shell, P&G and More

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Stocks were trying to stage a small recovery on Friday morning, after what has been a difficult week for the stock market after the prior week’s all-time highs. Investors are still looking for upside in stocks. The difference now is that they are deciding whether to look at stock picking rather than riding a tired bull market where not every sector may keep rising. Each morning of the week, 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports to find new ideas for our readers — some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, and some cover stocks to sell or stocks to avoid.

These are this Friday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations from Wall Street firms. As a reminder, Friday marks the calm before the storm as next week will mark the ramp up of a crucial earnings season.

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) was started with an Outperform rating and a $47 price target (versus a $42.95 closing price) at Cowen and Co.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated Buy and the price target was raised to a much higher $112 (from $102, and versus a $95.04 close) at Canaccord Genuity. The call is based on monthly surveys indicating that Apple is poised for accelerating replacement sales to drive a record iPhone 6 upgrade cycle. Keep in mind that this is the same morning that reports are out in major media that Apple’s iPhone has been dubbed a threat to China’s national security by the Chinese state-run media due to tracking and timestamp features.

CGI Group Inc. (NYSE: GIB) was started as Outperform at Credit Suisse, and the projected upside was 27% or so if you compare the Canadian dollar price target of $48 from the C$37.72 close in Toronto

ChannelAdvisor Corp. (NYSE: ECOM) was raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.