Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, AT&T, Autodesk, Bluebird Bio, Monsanto, Sarepta and More

Stocks were indicated higher on Thursday after a slew of economic data points to weak growth remaining in place, potentially keeping the Federal Reserve at bay on the rate hike scares. Volatility has returned and the bull market is now seven and a half years old. One constant is that investors have found varying reasons to come in and buy stocks after any real weakness. Those same investors are also hunting for new ideas to generate income or gains ahead — and ideas to keep them from losing money.

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 analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and some reports feature stocks to sell or to avoid.

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

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been winning as the iPhone 7 pre-orders have been very strong. Credit Suisse raised its estimates based on strong pre-sale orders, reiterating its Outperform rating and its $150 price target. Shares closed up 3.6% at $111.83 on Wednesday and were up 1.6% more at $113.60 Thursday morning. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $89.47 to $123.82, and the consensus analyst price target is $123.66.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was reiterated as Buy with a $48 price target (versus a $39.89 prior close) at Jefferies. The firm pointed out that the concerns over moves toward unlimited data plans and the pending launch of DirecTV Now are not as warranted as some might fear.

Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) was started with a Buy rating at Evercore ISI and was assigned a $80 price target (versus a $65.51 close). Its 52-week range is $41.60 to $69.21, and it has a consensus price target of $66.94.

Bluebird Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: BLUE) was already rated as Buy but was added to the prized Conviction Buy list at Goldman Sachs with a $135 price target (versus a $62.89 close). Bluebird Bio has seen its share of volatility of late, with a 52-week range of $35.37 to $143.08.

Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) is merging with Bayer, and the downgrades are coming in. CLSA downgraded it to Underperform from Buy. BMO maintained its Outperform rating and $128 price target.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) was up huge (26.7% to $32.45) after a Dr. Farkas departure from the FDA as the clinical team leader reviewing eteplirsen. Jefferies spoke with a regulatory expert, and the message is that this was somewhat expected. The firm also said that the KOL sees no changes on the probability of approval, and it believes the longer delay suggests a tougher path to approval. Jefferies maintained its Underperform rating and the $7 price target. Sarepta has a 52-week range of $8.00 to $41.97.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows:

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