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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Envestnet, Pandora, Regeneron, Spectra, Travelers and More

investor researchStocks were indicated up sharply on Thursday morning as China banned large stakeholders and insiders from selling shares in an effort to stop the sell-off. Yet again, the trend that has prevailed for almost four years is that investors have bought every sell-off. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst and brokerage reports each morning of the week to find new trading and investing ideas for its readers. Some of these analyst calls cover stocks to buy, and some cover stocks to sell or avoid.

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

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated as Buy with a $145 price objective (versus a $122.57 close) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The firm said that it views the reported 85 million to 90 million iPhones being ordered for the end of 2015 as bullish. The firm also believes that worries over a China deceleration are overblown as increased distribution alone can offset potential demand weakness.

Envestnet Inc. (NYSE: ENV) was started as Outperform at Northland Securities with a $50 price target (versus a $41.77 close). Envestnet has a consensus price target of $55.60 and a 52-week range of $37.76 to $58.21.

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) was started as Outperform at Northland Securities with a $20 price target (versus a $14.68 close). Pandora has a consensus price target of $22.04 and the 52-week range is $14.50 to $28.96.

Spectra Energy Corp. (NYSE: SE) was reiterated as Buy with a price target of $40 (versus a $31.04 close) at Argus. The call was based on Spectra’s fee-based businesses, financial strength and ability to expand its asset footprint.

Travelers Cos. (NYSE: TRV) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Merrill Lynch, but the price objective was dropped from $112 to $110 (versus a $98.76 close). Travelers has a consensus price target of $108.39 and a 52-week range of $88.81 to $110.49.

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) was downgraded to Sell from an already cautious Neutral rating at UBS. Regeneron closed at $509.30, has a consensus target of $511.71 and a 52-week range of $295.76 to $544.00.

Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades seen from this Thursday were as follows:

Agile Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AGRX) was reiterated as Buy with a fair value estimate of $17.00 (versus a $9.39 close) at Janney Capital Markets. Agile was said to be on track for full enrollment, with cash through 2016, and was listed as a compelling risk-reward.

Azure Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: AZUR) was reiterated as Buy at Janney Capital Markets, but the firm raised the price target to $30 from $29 and named it as a new top pick. This represents more than 100% implied upside to its fair value estimate in Azure.

China Biologic Products Inc. (NASDAQ: CBPO) was started as Buy with a $135 price objective (versus a $97.66 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm sees a robust pipeline, growth and M&A potential.

Con-Way Inc. (NYSE: CNW) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

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Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was maintained as Hold at Argus, with shares said to be near fair value despite expected 10% compound annual EPS growth over the next five years.

Great Western Bancorp Inc. (NYSE: GWB) was started as Overweight with a $30 price target at JPMorgan.

HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE: HSBC) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at BNP Paribas.

NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at JPMorgan, and the $20 price target was maintained (versus a $17.14 close).

Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: PNK) was downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

Prudential PLC (NYSE: PUK) was maintained as Buy and added to the prized Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.

Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at BNP Paribas.

Thompson Creek Metals Co. Inc. (NYSE: TC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel. Merrill Lynch raised its estimates.

TubeMogul Inc. (NASDAQ: TUBE) was started as Overweight with a $20 price target at JPMorgan.

WisdomTree Investments Inc. (NASDAQ: WETF) was downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna.

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W.R. Berkley Corp. (NYSE: WRB) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $58 price objective at Merrill Lynch.

Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Enphase Energy, Harley-Davidson, Salesforce.com, Tesla Motors, World Wrestling Entertainment and over a dozen more.

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