Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Domino’s Pizza, Level 3, Noble Energy, Royal Dutch Shell, United Rentals and More

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Stocks were actually trying to open higher on Friday, something outside of the norm for this week. Better bank earnings and overseas news from China may be adding support. Despite high valuations and despite the notion that the bull market is now seven and a half years old, investors have proven time after time, without failure, that they will buy every market dip. Investors are also looking for new ideas to generate gains or income ahead.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and some reports feature stocks to sell or to avoid.

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

Domino’s Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) was raised to Buy from Underperform with a $175 price objective at Merrill Lynch. The stock closed down 1.3% at $150.31, has a consensus analyst target price of $147.33 and has a 52-week trading range of $100.59 to $155.10.

Level 3 Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: LVLT) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $55 price target (versus a $45.09 prior close) at JPMorgan. It has a 52-week range of $41.73 to $57.59 and a consensus price target of $60.85.

Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $44 price target (versus a $35.45 close) at Mizuho. The consensus price target is $43.63, and the 52-week range is $23.77 to $39.85.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) was downgraded to Sell from Hold at Canaccord Genuity, but pricing data was not seen. It closed down 0.75% at $50.55, within a 52-week range of $35.80 to $56.41.

United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $70 price target (versus a $78.21 close) at UBS. Shares closed down 2.4% on Thursday and were down another 1.7% at $76.90 on Friday’s early indications. The consensus price target is $76.53. The 52-week range is $41.90 to $84.63.

Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows:

Amplify Snack Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: BETR) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with an $18 price target (versus a $15.45 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Bluebird Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: BLUE) was downgraded to Sell from Hold with a $37 price target (versus a $65.24 close) at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE: BXP) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $148 price objective at Merrill Lynch.

Fastenal Co. (NASDAQ: FAST) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, based upon a weaker near-term outlook.

Kilroy Realty Corp. (NYSE: KRC) was raised to Buy from Neutral with an $81 price objective at Merrill Lynch.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: NCLH) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $45.00 from $53.99 (versus $37.79 close) at Wedbush.

TASER International Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR) was started as Outperform with a $27 price target (versus a $22.09 close) at Imperial Capital.

Terex Corp. (NYSE: TEX) was raised to Buy from Underperform at Merrill Lynch.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Charles Schwab, Merck, Nokia, Viacom, Waste Management, Windstream and over a dozen more companies.

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