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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AMD, Cliffs, Gap, KLA-Tencor, Regions Financial, Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart and More

Actuant Corp. (NYSE: ATU) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo.

Aflac Inc. (NYSE: AFL) was started as Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch, noting that lingering EMV issues will persist longer than expected.

Citizens Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: CFG) was started as Outperform with a $29 price target (versus a $24.99 close) at Wedbush. Their view is that the turnaround story can continue and it is growing faster than peers.

Columbia Sportswear Co. (NASDAQ: COLM) was already rated as Buy but was added to the prized Conviction Buy list with a $71 price target (versus a $56.68 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, but the price target was raised to $22 from $19.50 (versus a $20.74 prior close). The call is after valuations have caught up.

Huntington Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: HBAN) was started as Outperform with a $12 price target (versus a $9.88 close) at Wedbush. The firm noted that the successful integration of FirstMerit is paramount to the investment story, but it is the second lowest P/E ratio in its bank sector coverage.

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) was started as Outperform with a $15 price target (versus a $12.41 close) at Wedbush. They called it the lowest P/E in its bank sector.

Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: PFG) was started as Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) was reiterated as Buy and the price objective was raised to $72 from $68 at Merrill Lynch. This call is on the implied NXP potential merger.

Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) was already rated as Buy but was added to the prized Conviction Buy list with a $120 price target (versus a $101.41 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) was removed from the US 1 list at Merrill Lynch, but the firm did maintain its Buy rating.

TerraForm Power Inc. (NASDAQ: TERP) was started with a Hold rating and assigned a $13 price target (versus a $14.38 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Voya Financial Inc. (NYSE: VOYA) was started as Outperform at Credit Suisse.

It should be pointed out that Wedbush had four initiations in the banking sector with Outperform ratings. While those have upside, this was a regional and Texas banking sector call in which 10 other peer banks were assigned only Neutral ratings.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades were in American Express, Encana, Petrobras, Raytheon, Tesla, Walgreens and many more.