Earnings season is afoot, and analysts are making their 2014 portfolio predictions at the same time that investors are trying to decide how to position their portfolio for gains or for a sell-off. 24/7 Wall St. looks over many Wall Street analyst research reports each morning. Some reports are ideas of stocks to buy and some cover stocks to sell. These are this Friday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.
Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is trading higher after earnings, enough for a 52-week high. We have seen the shares raised to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair and raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays. Goldman Sachs even raised the rating to Neutral from Sell with a $25 price target.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was up close to 3% around $37.20 in early Friday trading after its earnings report. The software and technology giant was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $42.50 from $40 at Credit Suisse. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has maintained its Underperform rating and $36 price target, citing that CEO certainty is needed.
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was reiterated as Buy at Merrill Lynch with a $110 price target, based on its discount to peers and efforts to regain sales traction. Sterne Agee reiterated its Buy rating and $107 price target based on a risk-reward outlook even with its difficult operating environment. Credit Suisse said Starbucks is more attractive than McDonald’s.
Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) was started as Outperform with a $43 price target (versus a $34.64 close) at Oppenheimer on Thursday evening.
SAP A.G. (NYSE: SAP) was downgraded from Buy to Hold at a firm called Berenberg. Argus lowered earnings estimates, but maintained a Buy rating and $99 price target (versus a $79.65 close).
Other Key Analyst Calls
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $510 price target at Wedbush (versus a $503.45 close).
Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE: GNRC) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was cut to $54 from $58 (versus a $50.18 close) at Merrill Lynch, based on quarterly dealer survey and competitor results.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) was raised to Buy from Hold at Societe Generale. The firm Exane BNP Paribas maintained a Neutral rating but did raise its price target 2% to 5.40 euro in local trading in Europe.
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight and the price target was lowered to $55 from $59 (versus a $50.72 close) by Atlantic Equities.
Cleveland BioLabs Inc. (NASDAQ: CBLI) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Cantor; it was also downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer. The downgrades are on the heels of BARDA terminating negotiations regarding a proposal for further development of Entolimod. Shares fell from $1.13 to $0.75 on the news on Thursday. Shares were indicated down 9% at $0.68 on Friday.
Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. (NASDAQ: FCS) was downgraded to Underperform from an already cautious Neutral rating and the price target was cut to $12 (versus a $13.15 close) at Merrill Lynch.
FireEye Inc. (NASDAQ: FEYE) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays.
International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was cut to $18 from $21.50 (versus a $17.65 close) by Sterne Agee.
Tempur Sealy International Inc. (NYSE: TPX) was started with a Buy rating and a $60 price target (versus a $49.00 close) at Merrill Lynch.
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