Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Rite Aid, Qualcomm, Facebook, ARM and More

Earnings season is winding down, stocks have challenged new highs and now it is time to figure out how to position your money and assets for 2014. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of Wall Street research reports each trading day, on the lookout for new ideas for our readers. Some research notes are stocks to buy and others end up being stocks to sell. These are this Thursday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.

Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) was started as Buy with a $7.00 price target (versus a $5.10 close) at Deutsche Bank. While this is one call in a sector report from late on Wednesday, this is a key signal that some bulls can still be found in a turnaround stock that has risen from the dead. This is after shares have risen well over 200% so far in 2013, and the stock’s 52-week range is $0.95 to $5.44.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) just hosted its Analyst Day, and the stock was downgraded to Outperform from a prior Strong Buy rating at Raymond James with a $79 price target (versus a $71.03 close). Sterne Agee maintained a Buy rating and a $75 price target. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating and $85 price target.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was started as Outperform with a $60 price target objective (versus a $46.43 close) at FBR Capital Markets. This $60 target is slightly higher than the consensus analyst price target of $58.48, and it is above the 52-week and all-time high of $54.83.

ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH) was started as Overweight at HSBC, and the implication is for price appreciation of about 16%, after converting from pence on the London market into ADR prices. The New York ADRs are trading above $46 and the 52-week range is $34.75 to $52.38.

Amicus Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: FOLD) has taken over the full rights in its Fabry treatment from GlaxoSmithKline, and we have seen two downgrades so far. The stock was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital Markets and also down to a Neutral rating from Overweight by J.P. Morgan.

Other standout analyst calls were as follows:

Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $130 price target (versus a $97.67 close) at Credit Suisse.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital Markets after earnings. Shares were up 6% in the premarket to $65.50, and the firm’s price target is $80.

LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) was started with a Market Perform rating by FBR Capital Markets.

Mechel OAO (NYSE: MTL) was raised to Buy, but all the way up from a Sell rating, at Citigroup.

Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs, but the real rub is that it was removed from the firm’s prized Conviction Buy list. The firm also cut the price target to $95 from $105, versus an $89.30 closing price.

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

Republic Services Inc. (NYSE: RSG) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Ubiquiti Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: UBNT) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $50 from $46 at Bank of America Merrill Lynch after meeting with the company’s CFO.

UBS sees top Internet stocks continuing their surge in 2014.

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