Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Carnival, Ciena, MercadoLibre, Spark Therapeutics, Smith & Wesson, Teva, Verifone and More

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Stocks were looking down marginally ahead of the key Labor Department payrolls report, and then the markets went slightly positive after the 151,000 nonfarm payrolls report was positive but not so strong to force the Fed’s hand for a rate hike. It is important to keep in mind that the Dow and S&P 500 are close to all-time highs and the market is valued at 18 times forward earnings. Investors have proven over and over that they will buy stocks after every market sell-off. Those same investors are also looking for new ideas to generate income or gains ahead.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy. Others feature stocks to sell or to avoid.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Friday morning:

Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight and the price target was cut to $48 from $54 (versus a $48.70 prior close) at Morgan Stanley. The stock was indicated lower by 3.6% at $46.95, and it has a consensus analyst price target of $56.73 and a 52-week trading range of $40.52 to $55.77.

Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Drexel Hamilton, and Morgan Stanley cut its rating to Equal Weight from Overweight. It was reiterated as Buy with a target price of $30 at Argus. Shares closed up 8% at $23.17 the prior day on earnings, and shares were indicated 2% lower at $22.70 on Friday morning. Ciena has a consensus analyst target of $24.81 and a 52-week range of $15.62 to $25.46.

MercadoLibre Inc. (NASDAQ: MELI) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $200 price target (versus a $173.68 close) at JPMorgan. The consensus target price is $146.63. The 52-week range is $84.19 to $174.28.

Spark Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCE) was started with a Buy rating and was given a $73 price target (versus a $57.55 close) at Stifel. It has a consensus target price of $61.80 and a 52-week range of $21.20 to $66.00.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SWHC) was up 5% to $29.58 on Thursday from earnings and was indicated down 1% at $29.28 after a downgrade. Craig-Hallum cut its rating to Hold from Buy with a $33 price target. The 52-week range is $16.33 to $31.19, and the consensus price target is $31.50.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) was raised to Outperform from Perform with a $66 price target (versus a $50.90 close) at Oppenheimer. Shares were indicated up 1.6% at $51.74 and have a 52-week range of $48.01 to $66.55. The consensus price target is up at $69.36.

Verifone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) was last seen trading down over 16% at $16.75 after earnings disappointed. The stock was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $20 from $30 at Wedbush Securities. Stifel kept a Buy rating but cut its target to $18 from $26. The prior 52-week range was $16.99 to $31.24.

Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades from this Friday were seen as follows:

Amec Foster Wheeler PLC (NYSE: AMFW) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Merrill Lynch.

Cornerstone OnDemand Inc. (NASDAQ: CSOD) was started as Overweight with a $53 price target (versus a $44.82 close) at Piper Jaffray.

Ctrip.com International Ltd. (NASDAQ: CTRP) was started with an Outperform rating and given a $58 price target (versus a $48.96 close) at Credit Suisse.

Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE: DOC) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

First Cash Financial Services Inc. (NYSE: FCFS) was started as Hold, after its merger, with a $60 price target (versus a $50.32 close) at Jefferies.

Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird.

Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Pioneer Energy Services Corp. (NYSE: PES) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $6 price target (versus a $3.28 close) at Jefferies.

Thursday’s top analyst calls included Boston Scientific, Micron Technology, Salesforce.com, TransCanada, Walgreens Boots Alliance and many more.

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