Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Atwood, Hartford, Kimberly-Clark, MEI Pharma, Sirius XM, Whiting and More

March 24, 2015 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated higher Tuesday morning. The one trend that has remained in place for almost three years now is that investors unilaterally buy their favorite stocks after each and every pullback. 24/7 Wall St. uses each morning to review dozens of analyst research reports to find new trading and investment ideas for its readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

These are this Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades.

Atwood Oceanics Inc. (NYSE: ATW) was started as Neutral at Susquehanna.

Century Aluminum Co. (NASDAQ: CENX) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

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Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: CCE) was added to the prized US1 List at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The rating remains as Buy and with a $52 price target.

Crossroads Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CRDS) was started as Outperform with a $5 price target (versus a $2.77 close) at Northland Securities.

Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) was started as Buy with a $49 price target (versus a $42.99 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Kimberly-Clark Co. (NYSE: KMB) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $117 to $120 price valuation range (versus a $108.99 close) at Wells Fargo.

L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) was started as Buy with a $106 price target at Topeka Capital Markets.

MEI Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: MEIP) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform and the price valuation range was slashed to $2.00 to $2.25 from a prior range of $10.00 to $11.00 at Wells Fargo. Merrill Lynch cut its rating to Neutral from Buy as well. This was on the heels of the 69% share price drop on Monday.

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ONEOK Inc. (NYSE: OKE) was started as Underperform with a $45 price objective (versus a $48.62 close) at Merrill Lynch due to sub-peer dividend growth.

Progressive Corp. (NYSE: PGR) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) was resumed with a Neutral rating and given a $4 price target (versus a $3.91 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Verifone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) was started as Outperform with a $42 price target (versus a $35.84 close) at BMO Capital Markets.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was reiterated as Buy with a $52 price target (versus a $38.39 close) at Sterne Agee, as a call to buy the pullback.

Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $39 price target (versus a prior $41 target and a $35.00 close) at Barclays.

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In case you missed Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they were in shares of AK Steel, Carnival, EMC, Kinder Morgan, NVIDIA, Staples, Tyco International and close to a dozen more.