Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Dollar General, Monsanto, Palo Alto, TG Therapeutics, Ulta, Vivint Solar and More

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Stocks were looking for direction on Friday ahead of the three-day weekend. This week saw handy gains on Tuesday and Wednesday and oil briefly hit $50 again. Maybe “sell in May and go away” wasn’t right this year, and somehow rate hikes may now be a good thing.

Investors have proven over and over that they will buy the dips. 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 of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while other reports feature stocks to sell or to avoid.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Friday morning.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was reiterated as Buy at Jefferies after earnings, and the firm raised its target price to $101 from $97 in the call. Shares closed up 4.6% at $88.01 on Thursday, in a 52-week trading range of $59.75 to $88.98 (that high was put in Thursday too).

Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $105 price target (versus a $109.62 prior close) at Atlantic Equities. That doesn’t exactly sound like much hope for a super-premium merger going through. Monsanto’s 52-week range is $81.22 to $119.09.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) closed up 1.7% at $148.18 ahead of earnings, but shares were last seen down 9.6% at $133.90 afterward. The stock was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham. Oppenheimer reiterated its Outperform rating and maintained its $177 price target.

TG Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: TGTX) was started with a Buy rating and was assigned an $18 price target (versus a $7.22 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. The company announced that it has entered into a global collaboration to develop and commercialize novel BET inhibitors from Jubilant Biosys for the treatment of hematological malignancies, and its shares were up over 9% at $7.90.

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) closed up 1% at $213.69 ahead of earnings and was last seen up 9% at $232.99 after the report. The stock was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $260 from $235 (versus a $211.48 close) at Oppenheimer. Its 52-week range was $120.38 to $214.44, with that high put in Thursday as well.

Vivint Solar Inc. (NYSE: VSLR) actually received an upgrade, to Buy from Hold, at Deutsche Bank, and the price target went to $7.50 from $3.50 (versus a $2.63 close). The shares were last seen up 6% at $2.80 on Friday.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen in the following: