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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Exxon, Lowe's, Paycom, Under Armour, Wal-Mart, Verizon and More

After a promising start Tuesday, the markets once again fizzled out to close mostly flat. With the markets looking flat to start Wednesday’s trading, some positive earnings news has started to hit the tape this week and investors are looking for opportunities as earnings season trudges on. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning to find new investment and trading ideas for its readers. Some analyst research reports cover new stocks to buy, and others cover stocks to sell or avoid.

Here are Wednesday’s leading analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations from top research calls from around Wall Street.

ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH) was raised to Buy at Citigroup.

ASML Holding N.V. (NASDAQ: ASML) was downgraded to Neutral at Citigroup.

Energy Transfer Equity L.P. (NYSE: ETE) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

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Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at J.P. Morgan.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Metaldyne Performance Group Inc. (NYSE: MPG) was started at Baird with an Outperform rating and a $24 price target. Shares closed trading Tuesday at $17.03, down over 5%.

Paycom Software Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYC) was started at Outperform at Credit Suisse with a $30 price target. The stock closed Tuesday at $23.24.

Ruckus Wireless Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Northland Capital.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Wedbush.

Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Telsey Advisory Group, which lifted its price target for the stock to $79 from $73. Shares ended the trading day Tuesday at $65.47.

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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Whole Food Market Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee.

Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Altria, Bank of America, Intel, SanDisk, T-Mobile, Time Warner, Viacom and more.