Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alcatel-Lucent, Alibaba, CyberArk, Yelp, Rocket Fuel, Choice Hotels and More

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Stocks were higher ahead of and after the unemployment and payrolls report. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day. Some analyst calls cover stocks to buy, but other reports cover stocks to sell or avoid. With investors having lined up to buy every pullback over the past four years, we are looking for new investing and trading ideas for our readers.

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

Alcatel-Lucent S.A. (NYSE: ALU) was raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS. It was also reported that Soc-Gen raised Alcatel’s rating to Buy from Hold after this week’s earnings report took shares higher.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $98 from $97 (versus a $86.00 close) at Goldman Sachs. The firm feels that revenue growth is back on track now, setting aside fears of slower gross market value and monetization of mobile. Goldman sees the $98 target based on 23 times 2017 earnings estimates.

Choice Hotels International Inc. (NYSE: CHH) was raised to Buy from Underperform and the price target was raised to $65 from $55 at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. This follows the stock’s recent underperformance, and the firm called it a less cyclical business model than most hotels with lower leverage.

CyberArk Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYBR) was reiterated as Buy and the price objective was raised to $70 from $60 at Merrill Lynch. The firm said that this and guidance reflect accelerating growth and strong execution trends. Oppenheimer maintained its Outperform rating and raised its target to $70. Shares were up close to 4% at $63.70 in premarket trading after earnings.

Rocket Fuel Inc. (NASDAQ: FUEL) was maintained as Buy, but the fair value target was lowered to $15.00 from $17.50 (versus a $7.63 close), at Janney Capital Markets. This stock has been battered from its highs, but Janney feels it is very cheap against revenue and growth, and they feel it can achieve revenue and profitability goals. Shares were up almost 5% at $8.00 in early Friday trading, versus a 52-week range of $7.53 to $31.84.

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Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) was maintained as Neutral with a $48 fair value target at Janney Capital Markets. They estimate that Yelp could fetch $55 to $70 in a strategic buyout. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating and $70 price target.

24/7 Wall St. also has almost two dozen more research report summaries covering the likes of Apache, Coach, Diamond Offshore, Ericsson, Lennar, Monster, Nokia, NVIDIA and many more. These other key analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Friday were as follows: