Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alcoa, Apache, Bob Evans, F5 Networks, McDonald’s and More

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Stocks were indicated marginally lower again on Wednesday after hitting new highs last week and after the Nasdaq hit 5,000 for the first time in 15 years. The one trend that has prevailed without fail for over two years now is that investors buy stocks whenever there is a pullback. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst reports each morning of the week for the sole purpose of finding new investment and trading ideas for its readers.

Some of these analyst research reports cover stocks to buy. Other analyst calls cover stocks to sell or avoid. These are this Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHN) was started as Underweight at Barclays.

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and its price objective was cut to $17 from $20 at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) was started as Overweight at Barclays.

American Realty Capital Properties Inc. (NASDAQ: ARCP) was reinstated with coverage at Neutral at Merrill Lynch.

Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) was maintained as Buy at Argus, but the price target was slashed down to $79 from $112 versus a $66.72 close.

AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee.

Bob Evans Farms Inc. (NASDAQ: BOBE) was down 20% after earnings and lower guidance. Miller Tabak cut the rating to Hold from Buy and lowered its target price to $53 from $63. Janney Capital cut its rating to Neutral from Buy and cut its price target to $48 from $60.

Century Aluminum Co. (NASDAQ: CENX) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price objective was cut to $23 from $39 at Merrill Lynch.

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Cnova N.V. (NYSE: CNV) was downgraded to Underperform from Outperform and the price target was cut to $7 from $8 at Credit Suisse.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham. On the other hand, Argus maintained its Buy rating and raised the target to $63 from $55.

F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) was started as Outperform with a $140 price target at Wedbush.

Hain Celestial Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN) was started as Outperform with a $72 price target at Wedbush.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform and the price target was raised to $115 from $93 (versus a $99.74 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX) was started as Overweight at Barclays

PTC Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: PTCT) was started as Overweight at Barclays

Springleaf Holdings LLC (NYSE: LEAF) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette & Woods, but the firm raised its price target to $58 from $40. Sterne Agee maintained its Neutral rating.

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In case you missed Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included AK Steel, American Express, Citigroup, MannKind, Micron Technology, Ocwen Financial, Seagate Technology and over a dozen more companies.