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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alcoa, NetApp, Plug Power, Teva and More

Stocks have started pulling back, and investors want two things: upside in the market after the dust settles and not to get caught in stocks that will suffer handily if the pullback continues. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week to find new ideas for its readers. Some of the analyst calls cover stocks to buy, others cover stocks to sell. These are this Friday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) was started with a Buy rating and given a $15 price target (implying 26% upside from the $11.89 close) at Sterne Agee. Of particular note is that Sterne Agee gives it a $22 long-term valuation target, as each of its markets will enjoy independent secular trends.

Atmel Inc. (NASDAQ: ATML) was started with a Buy rating and an $11 price target (implying about 38% upside from the $7.99 close) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Atmel’s consensus price target is only $8.77, and the prior highest target was $10 before this new call.

NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) was maintained as a Buy with its $50 price target at Argus after the company announced 600 layoffs. The consensus price target is closer to $44, and this week we said this was more evidence of the death of growth at NetApp.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital. As a reminder, Plug Power was slammed hard this week in a Stocklemon report by Citron Research.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley, and it was also raised to Neutral from Underweight at J.P. Morgan.

Other Key Analyst Calls

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (NYSE: AU) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) was reiterated as Buy at Deutsche Bank after the U.S. EPA cleared the company to begin working with the federal government again.

China Biologic Products Inc. (NASDAQ: CBPO) was started with an Outperform at Oppenheimer.

Harmony Gold Mining Co. (NYSE: HMY) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) was raised to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer.

Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the $55 price target was cut to $50 at Credit Suisse.

Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC) was raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

U.S. Steel Co. (NYSE: X) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse