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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Lululemon, Microsoft, NBG, Twitter, Whole Foods and More

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee. The firm agrees that challenges remain in the company, but the upgrade is now that shares have broken under the firm’s own $43 price target.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $49 price target (versus a $40.32 close and $43 prior target) at FBR Capital markets. FBR believes that Satya Nadella’s focus on the cloud and mobile will pay off.

National Bank of Greece S.A. (NYSE: NBG) was raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank in a sector call for Greek banks. The team also gave Buy ratings to Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank. Keep in mind that Nomura just this same week said it is time to Buy NBG as well.

National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) was reinstated as Outperform at Credit Suisse, now that the spin-off has been completed.

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Protective Life Corp. (NYSE: PL) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays after the acquisition offer from Japan.

Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO) was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised by over 10% on Norwegian Kroners (local) by J.P. Morgan, due to its low-risk portfolio, asset structure and exploration performance.

Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) was started as Outperform with a $45 price target at Pacific Crest. The firm thinks that app-install ads will act as a revenue growth driver, even if it does acknowledge that there are risks with the company.

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Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: VRNT) was raised to outperform from Neutral with a $57 price target (versus a $46.59 close) by Credit Suisse, based on organic growth and its new cybersecurity platform deal.

Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) was started with a Buy rating and a $170 price target (versus a $141.61 close) at Sterne Agee.

Whole Foods Market Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $48 price target (versus a $38.38 close) at Imperial Capital. We recently featured a special on why Whole Foods is losing so many of its customers, but this stock has already been gutted in 2014.

The big economic report of the week is due Friday via the unemployment and payrolls report from the Labor Department. Bloomberg is calling for the unemployment rate to rise 0.1% to 6.4% in May, with nonfarm payrolls up 213,000 (vs. 288,000 in April) and private sector payrolls up 215,000 (vs. 273,000 in April). The ADP report may have lowered expectations, but the TrimTabs report was more in line with BLS expectations than it was with the ADP report itself.