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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: CenturyLink, JetBlue, Level 3, Netflix, PulteGroup, United Tech, VMware, Whiting Petroleum and Many More

Stocks were handily lower on Tuesday after the Dow gained over 1,000 points from its lows in the prior week. Still, one trend that seems etched in stone is that investors will buy the top stocks and look for good value in stocks on weakness. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst calls cover stocks to buy and other calls cover stocks to sell or avoid. These are this Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.

CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) was started as Market Perform with a $28.00 price target (versus a $25.86 prior close) at Cowen. CenturyLink has a consensus price target that is over 10% higher at $31.08, and it has a 52-week trading range of $24.11 to $41.99, with a huge 8% or so yield.

JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ: JBLU) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $27.00 price target (versus a $26.86 close) at JPMorgan. JetBlue has a consensus price target of $29.17 and a 52-week range of $9.52 to $27.36.

Level 3 Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: LVLT) was maintained as a Buy rating at Goldman Sachs, but the firm added Level 3 to its prized Conviction Buy list with a $60.00 price target (versus a $45.21 close). This consensus price target is right in line with this call at $60.13, and the 52-week range is $37.61 to $57.08.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) was maintained as Buy with a $120.00 price target at Canaccord Genuity ahead of this week’s earnings report. The firm sees solid results and guidance coming this way. Netflix has a consensus price target of $120.39 and a 52-week range of $45.08 to $129.29.

PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight and the price target was cut to $18.00 from $22.00 (versus a $20.10 close) at Morgan Stanley. The consensus analyst price target is $23.94, and the 52-week range is $16.73 to $23.36.

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform and the price target was cut to $100 from $113 (versus a $95.43 close) at RBC Capital Markets. United Tech has a consensus analyst price target of $109.00 and as a 52-week range of $85.50 to $124.45.

ALSO READ: 8 Fresh Analyst Stock Picks With 50% to 100% Upside

VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities. This is after VMware gets treated like a second class citizen after the Dell-EMC merger with a diluted tracking stock. VMware closed down 8% at $72.27 on Monday, and it hit a 52-week low of $69.75 on Monday as well.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight with a $23.00 price target (versus a $20.16 close) at Morgan Stanley. Whiting closed down 10% on Monday, and it has a consensus analyst target closer to $30.00 and a 52-week range of $13.50 to $64.39.

Other key analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations on Monday morning were seen in the following:
American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Evercore ISI.

Cempra Inc. (CEMP) was started as Market Perform with a $31.00 price target at Leerink.

Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (NYSE: CHD) was started as Hold at Societe Generale.

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) was raised to Neutral from Sell at UBS.

Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc. (NYSE: FBHS) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight with a $50 price target (versus a $50.84 close) at Barclays.

Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $72.00 price target (versus a $59.94 close) at Sterne Agee CRT.

ALSO READ: 4 Cheap Chip Stocks to Buy Now Before Q3 Earnings

IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI) was started as Buy with an $85.00 price target (versus a $71.44 close) at Guggenheim.

Nabriva Therapeutics A.G. (NASDAQ: NBRV) was started as Outperform and with a $17.00 price target (versus a $10.00 close) at Wedbush Securities. Leerink started it as Outperform with a $19.00 price target, and RBC gave an Outperform rating and $21 price target.

Northern Trust Corp. (NASDAQ: NTRS) was raised to Strong Buy from an already positive Outperform rating with a price target of $83.00 (versus a $68.80 close) at Raymond James.

Post Properties Inc. (NYSE: PPS) was started as Neutral with a price target of $58.00 (versus a $60.53 close) at Mizuho.

Skechers USA Inc. (NYSE: SKX) was started as Buy and was assigned a $155.00 price target (versus a $130.31 close) at Argus.

SkyWest Inc. (NASDAQ: SKYW) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James, but this is after an 11.4% gain on Monday to $19.26 and after coming within a penny of the 52-week high of $19.52.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SWHC) was started as Outperform and was assigned a $22.00 price target (versus an $18.43 close) at Wedbush Securities.

Synthetic Biologics Inc. (NYSEMKT: SYN) was started as Outperform with an $8.00 price target (versus a $2.27 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Western Alliance Bancorp. (NYSE: WAL) was started as Overweight and was given a price target of $38.00 (versus a $32.95 close) at Piper Jaffray.

ALSO READ: Jefferies Franchise Pick Stocks to Buy That Also Pay Big Dividends

In case you missed Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included EMC, Goldman Sachs, Linn Energy, MGIC, Marvell Technology, NetApp and many more. We also had five under-the-radar analyst upgrades from Monday that included Exxon Mobil, GTT Comms, Harris, Melco Crown and Raytheon.

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