Stocks were trading up handily ahead of the key unemployment and payrolls report on Friday morning. What is amazing is that investors keep proving over and over that they will buy oversold or overlooked stocks when they can. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of brokerage analyst reports each morning to find new investment and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while others also cover stocks to sell or to avoid.
These are this Friday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations covered by 24/7 Wall St.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank late on Thursday afternoon. The shares fell in the after-hours, but the implication of the downgrade was not big at all after looking at the notes.
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) was downgraded to Reduce from Buy at Nomura, just after Wells Fargo warned of severe downside earlier this week.
Cree Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham. Canaccord Genuity maintained its Buy rating but lowered the price target to $41 from $64.
CDW Corp. (NYSE: CDW) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.
Eldorado Gold Corp. (NYSE: EGO) was raised to Sector Perform from Underperform and was given a $9 price target (versus a $7.08 close) at RBC Capital Markets.
Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight with a $63 price target at Morgan Stanley.
Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) was raised to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital Markets.
Proto Labs Inc. (NYSE: PRLB) was raised to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity after the recent pullback created an attractive entry point.
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (NYSE: PPC) was started with a Neutral rating and $33 price target (versus a $30.64 close) at Goldman Sachs.
Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) was started with a Buy rating at Sterne Agee late on Thursday, and another call shows that it was started as Buy at Societe Generale as well.
Silver Spring Network Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) was started with an Outperform rating and was given a $13 price target (versus a $9.48 close) at Raymond James.
Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: SLXP) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.
SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) was raised to Overweight from Neutral and was given a $43 price target (versus a $32.56 close) at J.P. Morgan.
If you missed Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included shares of AK Steel, Bank of America, Kinder Morgan, Pandora Media, Twitter, Valero Energy, Barrick Gold, Gentex and perhaps a dozen others.