Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AbbVie, KLA-Tencor, Marathon Oil, Verifone and Many More

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Stocks were indicated higher ahead of Friday’s key payrolls and unemployment report, but there has been a softer tone in recent days as some selling has taken place. The bull market is officially eight years old, and we have identified the best performing DJIA stocks since the V-bottom of March 9, 2009. What investors have to consider is that the prevailing trend has been for investors to buy stocks on any serious pullback. Those same investors also are looking for new ideas and overlooked opportunities.

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

Some color has been added on many of the following calls, and the consensus analyst price targets referenced are from Thomson Reuters. These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Friday, March 10, 2017:

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) was reiterated as Buy but the price target was raised to $80 from $74 (versus a $64.50 prior close) at Goldman Sachs. AbbVie has a 52-week trading range of $54.41 to $68.12 and a consensus analyst price target of $69.78.

KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ: KLAC) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $100 from $93 (versus a $91.79 close) at Credit Suisse. The firm believes that there are company specific drivers (Gen-5 and 3D NAND product cycle, foundry capex recovery, IP) that will be incrementally more positive for KLA-Tencor. Its 52-week range is $66.88 to $91.92, and its consensus analyst target is $86.67.

Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $22 price target (versus a $16.07 close) at FBR Capital Markets. Marathon Oil has a 52-week range of $9.65 to $19.28 and a consensus price target of $20.87.

Verifone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BTIG Research. Shares have recovered this week since reports of a data breach, but this was a post-earnings report in which it actually exceeded its guidance. Shares closed at $20.35 on Thursday. Verifone’s 52-week range is $14.94 to $29.73, and its consensus price target is $20.08.

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Other key analyst calls were seen in the following: