Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, BHP Billiton, Broadcom, McDonald's, Sophiris, Tech Data and More

Stocks were looking for direction on Tuesday after Monday was one of the slowest trading days of the year. The markets are very close to all-time highs and investors keep demonstrating that they want to buy their favorite stocks in every market sell-off. Those same investors also remain on the hunt for new ideas to generate income or gains.

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. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy. Other reports feature stocks to sell or avoid.

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

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was last seen down about 1% after an expected 13 billion euro (about $14.5 billion) tax ruling went against the company and Ireland. Merrill Lynch reiterated Apple as Buy with a $120 price objective, based on the firm seeing this taking years to resolve and it expects no immediate financial impact to Apple.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) was raised to Buy from Hold with a 12-month price target of $40 (versus a $32.21 prior close) at Argus. The firm thinks that BHP’s earnings should benefit from stable to higher commodity prices and cost cutting efforts. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $30.58 and a 52-week trading range of $18.46 to $38.10.

Broadcom Ltd. (NASDAQ: AVGO) was reiterated as Overweight with a $185 price target at Barclays. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating but lifted the price target to $200 from $180. Citigroup started Broadcom as Buy with a $205 price target. Its shares closed at $177.40 and have a 52-week range of $111.53 to $178.68.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and the price target was raised to $128 from $126 at Robert W. Baird. The 52-week range is $92.60 to $131.96, and the consensus price target is $129.36.

Sophiris Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: SPHS) was started as Overweight with a $7 price target (versus a $3.37 close) at Piper Jaffray. The consensus price target is $8.25, and the 52-week range is $0.67 to $8.55.

Tech Data Corp. (NASDAQ: TECD) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Merrill Lynch, but the price objective was raised to $80 from $67 (versus a $72.27 close). The 52-week range is $57.99 to $83.51, and the consensus price target of $71.00.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows:

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