Stocks were looking for direction on Thursday, but while lower early on they were considerably off the lows. Investors have signaled over and over that they will buy the top stocks on weakness. With this in mind, 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some analyst calls cover stocks to buy and some cover stocks to sell. These are this Thursday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.
Actuant Corp. (NYSE: ATU) was raised to Neutral from Underweight and the price target was raised to $21 from $14 (versus a $21.69 prior close) at JPMorgan.
Acuity Brands Inc. (NYSE: AYI) was maintained as Buy with a $211 price target at Canaccord Genuity, following its earnings results.
Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: APD) was raised to Buy from Neutral and its price target was raised to $154 from $150 (versus a $134.17 close) at Goldman Sachs.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) was started as Hold with a $63 price target (versus a $58.94 close) at Jefferies.
Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (NYSE: BKD) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Digital Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE: DLR) was reiterated as Buy with a $77.000 price target (versus a $66.86 close) at Canaccord Genuity.
Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) was started as Buy with a $92.00 price target (versus a $61.04 close) at Deutsche Bank.
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) was started as Underperform with a $2.75 price target (versus a $3.82 close) at Cowen.
Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ: INFN) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $24.00 price target (versus a $19.72 close) at Needham.
Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT) was raised to Buy from Hold with a price target of $80.00 (versus a $70.94 close) at Evercore ISI.
Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (NYSE: MJN) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral with a $78 price target (versus a $72.35 close) at Merrill Lynch.
Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR) was started as Hold with a $7.50 price target (versus a $7.27 close) at Jefferies.
PTC Inc. (NASDAQ: PTC) was started as Overweight with a $40 price target (versus a $33.84 close) at Pacific Crest.
Springleaf Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LEAF) was started as Buy with a fair value estimate of $57.00 (versus $a 46.73 close) at Janney Capital Markets.
Tupperware Brands Corp. (NYSE: TUP) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral with a $56.00 price objective (versus a $54.67 close) at Merrill Lynch.
United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) was started as Neutral with a $104.00 price target (versus a $93.51 close) at JPMorgan.
USG Corp. (NYSE: USG) was started as Neutral with a $30.00 price target (versus a $27.40 close) at Goldman Sachs.
VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $90 from $88 at Canaccord Genuity.
Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM) was started as Hold with an $83.00 price target (versus a $78.67 close) at Jefferies.
Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse, but the firm lowered its price target to $75.00 from $86.00, after closing down sharply this week from poor earnings.
In case you missed Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included Adobe Systems, FireEye, Lululemon Athletica, Nu Skin, Rio Tinto, Tesla Motors, BHP Billiton and many more.
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