Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Ballard Power, Facebook, Garmin, Mondelez, Range Resources, US Steel and More

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The stock market may have recently hit new highs, but stocks were indicated marginally lower on Thursday after Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting hinted at economic downside risks being lower. High valuations and all the other national and international pressures are not keeping investors from buying every pullback.

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 its readers. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while other reports feature stocks to sell or avoid.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday morning:

Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: BLDP) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform and the price target was doubled to $3 (versus a $2.04 prior close after an 11.5% gain) at FBR Capital Markets. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $1.07 to $2.12.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $150 from $140 at Mizuho. It was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $170 from $160 at Jefferies. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its price target to $154 from $145. Needham has a Buy rating and raised its target to $150 from $130. Facebook closed up 1.75% at $123.34 ahead of earnings, but it was indicated up 4% at $128.60 on Thursday morning. Facebook’s prior 52-week and all-time high was $125.00.

Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) was raised to Neutral from Underweight and the price target was raised to $47 from $38 (versus a $51.79 close) at JPMorgan. Credit Suisse maintained its Underperform rating but raised its target to $44 from $36.

Mondelez International Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Societe Generale. Its shares closed at $43.94 and have a 52-week range of $35.88 to $48.58. The consensus analyst price target is $50.33.

Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC) was already rated as Buy at Jefferies, but the firm added it to the Franchise Pick list with a $50 target (versus a $41.87 close). Range Resources has a 52-week range of $19.21 to $46.96.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was raised to Buy from Hold with $30 target price at Argus. It was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Merrill Lynch. Shares closed up 11% at $25.49 and have a 52-week range of $6.15 to $26.28.

Other key analyst upgrades and downgraded were seen as follows:

  • Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $119 from $122 (versus a $113.56 close) at Credit Suisse.
  • AXT Inc. (NASDAQ: AXTI) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $5.50 price target (versus a $3.66 close) at Needham.
  • Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) was started with an Overweight rating and was assigned a $41 price target (versus a $30.64 close) at Pacific Crest.
  • Gulfport Energy Corp. (NASDAQ: GPOR) was removed from the Jefferies Franchise Picks List.
  • Match Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MTCH) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $19 price target (versus a $15.68 close) at JPMorgan.
  • Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. (NYSE: RS) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Merrill Lynch with an $84 price objective (versus a $77.11 close).
  • Spark Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: SPKE) was raised to Buy and the fair value estimate was raised to $34 (versus a $23.74 close) at Janney. The firm thinks its positives are just not being reflected in the share price.
  • TripAdvisor Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) was raised to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James.

If you are tired of buying stocks at all-time highs or tired of bonds close to record low yields, here are 10 alternative investment classes to consider.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Apple, BP, SunPower, Twitter, United Technologies, Linear Technologies, Analog Devices and many more.

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