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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AT&T, Costco, Gap, ICE, Rackspace, Sprint, Verizon, Weatherford and More

Stocks were indicated sharply higher yet again on Friday on hopes of a deal with Greece, with more proof that the three-and-a-half-year trend in which investors are willing to buy each and every sell-off is alive and well. 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, while some cover stocks to sell or to avoid. These are this Friday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was raised to Neutral from Negative at Susquehanna.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was started as Buy with a $41.50 price target (versus a $34.39 close) at Stifel.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Cameron International Corp. (NYSE: CAM) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform with a price target of $65 (versus a $50.38 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Charles River Laboratories International Inc. (NYSE: CRL) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $83 price objective (versus a $71.98 close) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was raised to Outperform from Perform and with a $160 price target (versus a $139.45 close) at Oppenheimer.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) was raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS.

Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE: ICE) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $252 from $247 (versus a $224.43 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Inphi Corp. (NYSE: IPHI) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Northland Securities.

James River Group Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: JRVR) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $27 price target (versus a $25.46 close) at BMO Capital Markets.

Mercer International Inc. (MERC) was downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James.

Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc. (NYSE: Q) was raised to Overweight from Sector Weight at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $40 from $50 (versus a $35.82 close) at Evercore ISI.

Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) was started as Hold at Stifel.

Superior Energy Services Inc. (NYSE: SPN) was raised to Buy from Hold, but the price target was cut to $25 from $28 (versus a $19.88 close), at Jefferies.

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T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) was started as Hold at Stifel.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was started as Buy with a $60 price target (versus a $46.26 close) at Stifel.

Virtus Investment Partners Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTS) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $115 price target (versus a $124.48 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Weatherford International PLC (NYSE: WFT) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $14 price target (versus a $11.48 close) at Jefferies.

In case you missed Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included Apple, Envestnet, Pandora Media, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Spectra Energy, Travelers and a dozen other companies.