Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Twitter, Whiting Petroleum, Groupon, Goldman Sachs BDC, AT&T and More

June 4, 2015 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were lower on Thursday on reports that Greece was declining to accept the terms and proposed restraints that the European Union presented the country. While the reason is different almost every time, for almost four years now investors have lined up and bought their favorite stocks on every pullback. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of research reports each morning, hunting for new trading and investing ideas for its readers. Some analyst calls cover stocks to buy, while other calls cover stocks to sell or avoid.

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

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was raised to Overweight from Neutral and the price target was raised to $40 from $35 (versus a $35.03 close) at JPMorgan. The consensus price target is $34.35, and this JPMorgan target matches the street’s highest analyst price target. The 2015 Bull/Bear Case for AT&T showed that over half of AT&T’s 9% or so expected gain would come from its high 5.4% dividend. 24/7 Wall St. just offered a first look on the post-DirecTV merger values for AT&T.

Goldman Sachs BDC Inc. (NYSE: GSBD) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. Wells Fargo just reiterated its Market Perform rating the prior day. Trading at $22.78, its post-IPO range is $19.50 to $23.33, and the yield is over 8%.

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley. Here is how leadership changes likely will affect the company, as well as our own look at why Groupon is still floundering. After closing at $6.15, the consensus price target is closer to $8.50 and the 52-week range is $5.68 to $8.43.

Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the target price was cut to $39 from $49 (versus a $37.00 close) at Evercore ISI. The downgrade was based on diminishing user growth, a lower conviction on the monetization and a more conservative valuation of the future long-term growth prospects. Twitter has a consensus price target of almost $48 and a 52-week range of $33.09 to $55.99.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was upgraded to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $43 from $38 (versus a $33.37 close) at Deutsche Bank. Whiting has seen its share of mixed calls, now that it is no longer considered a buyout target as the largest independent Bakken shale producer. Its consensus price target is almost $44, and the 52-week range is $24.13 to $92.92.

ALSO READ: 5 Analyst Stock Picks Called to Rise 50% to 100%

These are the additional top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research calls this Thursday:

American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT) was reiterated as Buy with a price target of $112 (versus a $92.68 close) at Argus.

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (NYSE: BKD) was started with a Buy rating and was assigned a $45.00 price target (versus a $37.46 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Coeur Mining Inc. (NYSE: CDE) was started as Buy and with a $6.50 price target (versus a $5.47 close) at Roth Capital.

Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG) was started as Perform at Oppenheimer.

Diebold Inc. (NYSE: DBD) was raised to Neutral from Underweight and the price target was raised to $39 from $33 (versus a $35.58 close) at JPMorgan.

Dillard’s Inc. (NYSE: DDS) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral and the price target was cut to $100 from $105 (versus a $117.19 close) at Credit Suisse.

ALSO READ: 10 Stocks to Own for the Next Decade

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $12.20 target price (versus a $11.34 close) at JPMorgan.

Frontier Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: FTR) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a price target of $6.00 (versus a $5.38 close) at Raymond James. We just featured why Frontier’s super-high dividend yield of almost 8% looks safe.

Mack-Cali Realty Corp. (NYSE: CLI) was raised to Hold from Sell at Stifel Nicolaus.

Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc. (NYSE: MAA) was started as Outperform and was assigned a price target of $82 (versus a $74.59 close) at Cowen.

Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: MNTA) was started as Buy at Stifel Nicolaus.

Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $76 from $85 (versus a $74.28 close) at Credit Suisse.

Steris Corp. (NYSE: STE) was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Vera Bradley Inc. (NYSE: VRA) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $13 from $19 (versus a $12.16 close) at R.W. Baird.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, but the $55 target price is above the $49.08 close.

ALSO READ: Baird Adds New Top Stocks to Buy to Its Focus List

In case you missed Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they were in shares of Ambarella, Cisco Systems, Frontier Communications, Marvell Technologies, Yingli Green Energy, AT&T and over a dozen more companies.