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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AMD, 3D Systems, Tesla, Whole Foods, Zynga, Chesapeake and More

Stocks were looking for direction on Thursday following a big sell-off. While the selling was harsh on Wednesday, the stock market is still close to all-time highs. Also, the one trend that has held up every single pullback is that investors have lined up in droves to buy their favorite stocks when there is weakness. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day to find new trading and investment ideas for its readers. Some analyst calls cover stocks to buy, but other reports cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

These are Thursday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was maintained as Outperform and with a $3.00 to $3.50 fair value range (versus a $2.29 close) at Wells Fargo. The firm called its analyst day takeaway a clear and decisive strategy. Its value was based on 0.5 to 0.6 times the firm’s 2016 sales estimate, and the range was said to be reasonable based on continuing losses and that AMD has yet to clearly demonstrate an ability to stabilize its sales and reduce its losses. We have shown these calls in more detail for a comparison of the positive and negative calls.

3D Systems Co. (NYSE: DDD) was maintained as Sector Perform but the price target was cut to $28.00 from $33.00 at RBC Capital Markets. Credit Suisse maintained its Neutral rating but lowered its earnings estimates and its target price down to $30 from $40, noting a hope that industrial demand should recover by mid-year.

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) was seen down 3% at $223.50 in premarket trading after earnings. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform and $290 price target, with a note that the firm is encouraged that Tesla’s efficiency targets should lead to meaningful operating leverage as volumes grow over the course of 2015. After Bank of America Merrill Lynch maintained its Underperform rating and $65 price objective, a more detailed comparison of the two analyst calls is now available.

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Whole Foods Market Inc. (NYSE: WFM) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets, on the heels of earnings weakness. Merrill Lynch downgraded it to Neutral from Buy with a $48 price objective. Sterne Agee CRT maintained its Buy rating but lowered its target price to $55 from $60 in the call. Janney Capital Markets maintained its Neutral rating and lowered its fair value target to $45 from $52.

Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) was reiterated as Neutral, but the fair value target was raised to $2.75 from $2.50 (versus a $2.61 close) at Janney Capital Markets. Sterne Agee CRT maintained its Neutral rating as well, as did Credit Suisse, with a $2.92 target price as user metrics fell short.

The following were also seen as important analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations from Wall Street research calls this Thursday:

Activision-Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) was reiterated Buy and the price target was raised to $27 from $24 (versus a $23.20 close) at Sterne Agee CRT.

Avon Products Inc. (NYSE: AVP) was maintained as Sector Perform but the price target was cut to $7.00 from $8.00 at RBC Capital Markets.

Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $55 from $63 (versus a $48.46 close) at Credit Suisse.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) was maintained as Market Perform with a $13 to $19 fair value range (versus a $14.72 close) at Wells Fargo, and the firm has a net asset value estimate of $10.68 per share.

Copa Holdings S.A. (NYSE: CPA) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Dicks Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets.

Finish Line Inc. (NASDAQ: FINL) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $30.00 from $26.00 at Canaccord Genuity.

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Fiserv Inc. (FISV) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, and the call is really after shares outperformed the market rather than based on problems. Argus even said it would likely add it back to the buy list if shares pulled back.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) was raised to Overweight with a $228 price target (versus a $196.25 close) at Atlantic Securities.

HollyFrontier Corp. (NYSE: HFC) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform and the price target was raised to $49.00 from $40.00 at RBC Capital Markets.

Magellan Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: MMP) was reiterated with a Buy rating and $90 target price (versus a $84.24 closing price) at Argus.

Noodles & Co. (NASDAQ: NDLS) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral and the price objective was lowered to $16 from $23 (after falling 19% to $16.70 the prior day) at Merrill Lynch after another poor earnings report.

Safe Bulkers Inc. (NYSE: SB) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral and the price objective was slashed to $2.75 from $5.00 (versus a $3.56 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Sodastream International Ltd. (NASDAQ: SODA) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital. Deutsche Bank had been more cautious here just a day before, after earnings took shares down almost 7% to $17.83.

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TASER International Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

Tonix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TNXP) was started as Buy with a $10 fair value target (versus a $6.03 close) at Janney Capital Markets.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) was reiterated with a Buy rating and the price target was raised to $123 from $115 (versus a $109.72 close) at Argus. Firms keep raising the price targets on Disney as the company keeps firing on all cylinders.

In case you missed Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included Borderfree, Genworth Financial, Groupon, Nationstar Mortgage, SolarCity, Zulily and over a dozen more companies.

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