Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Brocade, Facebook, First Solar, Fitbit, ONEOK Partners, Sunrun and More

November 3, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated higher on Thursday after the Brexit theme has now switched to a softer Brexit path. This is also the first day of serious gains this week. Investors may use a different set of reasoning each time, but they have proven over and over that they will buy each pullback. High valuations and a seven-and-a-half-year bull market just do not matter, and neither does an earnings recession. 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 of the week to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and other calls cover stocks to sell or avoid.

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

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: BRCD) was last seen up 9.6% at $12.32 on Wednesday after its buyout from Broadcom was confirmed. D.A. Davidson cut its rating to Neutral, and RBC Capital Markets cut it to Sector Perform. Brocade has a 52-week trading range of $7.40 to $12.42, and it was routinely a member of our analyst stocks under $10 with massive upside feature.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) closed down 1.7% at $127.26 ahead of earnings and was indicated down 4.7% at $121.15 on Thursday morning. It was reiterated as Outperform with a $170 price target at Credit Suisse. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating and $150 price objective. The 52-week range is $89.37 to $133.50.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the fair value estimate was cut to $48 from $68 (versus a $40.58 close) at Janney. The firm sees its outlook diminished with pricing trends and other issues. First Solar was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer. Shares were down 1.1% at $40.58 ahead of earnings and down 6.3% at $38.01 on Thursday morning post-earnings.

Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT) closed down 1.9% at $12.81 ahead of earnings but was down a sharp 29% to $9.05 afterward for a new 52-week low. Citigroup downgraded it to Neutral from Buy, and Merrill Lynch downgraded it to Underperform from Buy with a $9 price objective. Wedbush Securities downgraded Fitbit to Neutral from Outperform due to demand softness and limited long-term visibility, slashing the target to $10 from $18. Morgan Stanley cut its rating to Equal Weight with an $11 target. The prior 52-week range was $11.65 to $38.15, and the old consensus price target was $20.88.

ONEOK Partners L.P. (NYSE: OKS) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $40 price target (versus a $39.09 close) at Stifel. The 52-week range is $21.86 to $42.49, and the consensus price target is $41.94.

Sunrun Inc. (NASDAQ: RUN) was started as Outperform at Credit Suisse. Shares closed down 4.7% at $4.63 on Wednesday but were indicated up almost 8% at $5.00 on Thursday. The 52-week range is $4.59 to $7.34.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows:

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN) was started as Buy with a $164 price target (versus a $127.74 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) was started as Hold with a $9.50 price target (versus a $9.01 close, after a 2% drop) at Deutsche Bank.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) was started as Buy with a $106 price target (versus an $80.90 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Buenaventura Mining Co. Inc. (NYSE: BVN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $15 price target (versus a $13.02 close, after a 4.9% drop) at HSBC.

Exelixis Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL) was started as Buy with a $17 price target (versus $10.81 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Goldman Sachs BDC Inc. (NYSE: GSBD) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Merrill Lynch, but the firm maintained its $20.50 price target. Its view is that this business development company’s valuation is ahead of performance at 1.2 times its net asset value.

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX) was started as Buy with a $65 price target (versus a $42.56 close, after a 4.6% drop) at Deutsche Bank.

NuStar G.P. Holdings LLC (NYSE: NSH) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Qiagen N.V. (NASDAQ: QGEN) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Merrill Lynch.

Stericycle Inc. (NASDAQ: SRCL) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $60 price target (versus a $76.03 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Vivint Solar Inc. (NYSE: VSLR) was started as Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse’s global equity strategy team now points to the 10-year yield rising to 2.15% by the end of 2017 and warns of a risk that bond yields could rise more than expected. Their view is still that equities can accommodate higher rates and they prefer playing higher rates via financial stocks.

Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Brookdale Senior Living, Frontier Communications, Nike, Norfolk Southern, Pfizer, Nucor, Xylem and over a dozen more.