Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AMD, Cree, Fitbit, Hess, Juniper Networks, Lululemon, Priceline and More

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Stocks closed higher on Monday and Tuesday, only to rocket higher on Wednesday with a new closing high and the Dow up almost 300 points. Stocks were indicated only marginally higher with a continued easy-money policy announcement by the European Central Bank. Since the election, the stock market has risen almost daily, and investors still have a huge appetite to buy shares. Even with a bull market that is almost eight years old, investors are looking for new ideas for gains or income.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst reports each day of the week to find new investing and trading ideas for its readers. Some of these analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and other calls cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

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

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was raised to Buy from Underperform with a $12 price objective (raised from $5) at Merrill Lynch. The firm admitted it is way late, but it said better late than sidelined as the growth options are too large to ignore. Merrill Lynch even gave a $15 bullish case and $7 bearish case. AMD closed at $9.56 and was up 4% at $9.95 on Thursday, in a prior 52-week range of $1.75 to $9.79.

Cree Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) was started as Outperform with a $32 price target (versus a $26.68 prior close) at JMP Securities. It has a 52-week trading range of $20.75 to $32.92 and a consensus analyst price target of $23.80.

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Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut in half to $9 (versus a $7.97 close) at Deutsche Bank. It has a 52-week range of $7.81 to $31.85.

Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $65 price target (versus a $60.95 close) at JPMorgan. The 52-week range is $32.41 to $63.76, and the consensus price target is $63.50.

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $33 from $24 (versus a $27.75 close) at Nomura. Juniper saw a similar upgrade from Credit Suisse just the prior day. The 52-week range is $21.18 to $29.57, and the consensus price target is $27.75.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) shares were up 15% at $69.00 (versus a $59.84 close) after beating earnings and adding $100 billion to a share buyback plan, It was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Merrill Lynch. Mizuho raised Lululemon to Buy from Neutral. Wedbush raised its target to $81 from $70 and reiterated an Outperform rating, while Jefferies maintained its Hold rating but raised its target to $64 from $61. The 52-week trading range is $44.62 to $81.81.

Priceline Group Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN) was started as Buy with a $1,900 price target (versus a $1,527.04 close) at CLSA. It has a 52-week range of $954.02 to $1,600.93 and a consensus analyst target of $1,712.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows: