Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Continental Resources, Freeport-McMoRan, Groupon, JPMorgan, Linear Tech, Marathon Oil, PNC Financial and More

October 17, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were looking for direction on Monday, after a week of a mild drop. Despite high valuations, and even with a bull market that is now seven and a half years old, investors keep proving that they will buy every market dip. Those same investors are also looking for new ideas to generate gains or income ahead.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and some reports feature stocks to sell or avoid.

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

Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLR) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $60 price target (versus a $51.78 close) at Barclays. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $13.94 to $55.07 and a consensus analyst price target of $54.44.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) was started as Underperform with an $8 price objective (versus a $9.66 close) at Merrill Lynch. The 52-week range is $3.52 to $14.06, and the consensus price target is $11.38.

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Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and the price target was raised to $6.50 from $4.50 (versus a $5.01 close) at Wedbush Securities. It has a 52-week range of $2.15 to $5.94 and a consensus price target of $4.94.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets. Buckingham Research also reportedly downgraded it to Neutral from Buy. The money center bank closed down 0.3% at $67.52 on Friday and was indicated down 0.2% at $67.40 on Monday, and it has a 52-week range of $52.50 to $69.06. The consensus price target is $71.27.

Linear Technology Corp. (NASDAQ: LLTC) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer. The 52-week range is $37.33 to $64.42. The consensus price target is $60.63.

Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight and the price target was lowered to $17 from $18 at Barclays. The 52-week range is $6.52 to $20.09, and the consensus price target of $18.16.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows:

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was reiterated as Buy with a $9 price target at Jefferies. The firm said that its own checks indicate AMD’s Zen Server MPU is gaining traction with China hyperscale players, and the analyst feels that more deals after Alibaba are in the works.

Capstar Financial Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: CSTR) was started with a Market Perform rating and was given a $19 price target (versus a $17.73 close) at Keefe Bruyette & Woods.

LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC) was reiterated as Underperform with a $3.75 price target (versus a $6.00 close) at Wedbush. The firm feels that raising interest rates, tightening underwriting criteria and higher net charge-offs are going to work against it.

MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG) was started with a Buy rating and was assigned a $10 price objective (versus a $7.99 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Newell Brands Inc. (NYSE: NWL) was reiterated as Buy with a $66 price target (versus a $52.25 close) at Jefferies. The firm feels that Newell’s recently announced portfolio divestitures are probably just the first steps in pruning Jarden’s portfolio, and the firm kept it as a top pick.

NextEra Energy Partners L.P. (NYSE: NEP) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $31 price target (versus a $27.04 close) at UBS.

Novan Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVN) was started as Outperform with a $27 price target (versus an $18.97 close) at Credit Suisse. It was also started as Outperform with a $27 price target at Wedbush.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: PNC) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $98 price target (versus an $88.03 close) at Argus. It has a 52-week range of $77.40 to $97.50.

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (NYSE: PEG) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $47 price target (versus a $40.90 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Radian Group Inc. (NYSE: RDN) was started with a Buy rating and assigned an $18 price objective (versus a $13.74 close) at Merrill Lynch.

TeleNav Inc. (NASDAQ: TNAV) was started as Outperform with a $15 price target (versus a $5.72 close) at FBR Capital Markets.

Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Wedbush, noting that the TV-centric thesis looks more like it is in the seventh inning than the second.

Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Wedbush and the price target was raised to $46 (versus a $36.00 prior closing price).

Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. (NYSE: WDR) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target in the new coverage went to $95 from $87 (versus a $78.31 close) at Jefferies.

24/7 Wall St. featured five blue chip stocks with solid dividends that analysts want you to buy now.

Also, there were 13 oil and gas stocks that analysts are telling their clients to buy.

Friday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades were in Domino’s Pizza, Level 3 Communications, Noble Energy, Royal Dutch Shell, United Rentals and over a dozen more.