Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Energy Transfer, First Solar, L3, Regions Financial, Western Digital and More

Stocks were indicated marginally higher on Friday despite a weak growth reading on gross domestic product, but this is on the heels of a very strong week to the last trading day of April. This bull market has now raged on more than eight years, and investors have found myriad reasons to buy every single market sell-off for more than five years now. Those same investors also are still looking for new trading and investing ideas.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new ideas for our readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy and others cover stocks to sell or to avoid. Some color has been added on many of the following calls, and references to consensus analyst price targets are from Thomson Reuters.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls on Monday, May 1, 2017.

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (NYSE: DNKN) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform and the target price was raised to $64 from $54 (versus a $55.86 prior close) at RBC Capital Markets. Dunkin’ Brands has a 52-week trading range of $41.29 to $58.43 and a consensus analyst target price of $54.20.

Energy Transfer Equity L.P. (NYSE: ETE) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform on a combined entity basis for SXL/ETP. Energy Transfer’s price target actually was raised a dollar to $23, and the rating cut is based on a likely equity issuance to help pay for the deal. Energy Transfer Equity has a yield equivalent of almost 6%, it closed at $18.66 on Friday and it has a 52-week range of $10.56 to $20.05.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was raised to Neutral from Underperform with a $31 price target at Credit Suisse. The firm noted that protectionist probabilities are piercing the bearish thesis, even if the solar bulls have a lot to worry about now. First Solar closed on Friday at $29.55, and it has a 52-week range of $25.65 to $56.32.

L3 Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LLL) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight but the price target was raised to $175 from $165 (versus a $171.77 close) at Barclays. L3 Technologies has a 52-week range of $132.00 to $179.95 and a consensus price target of $180.40.

Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE: RF) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $15 price target (versus a $13.34 cloe) at Wedbush Securities. The firm is worried that Regions is more reliant on macroeconomic trends than other banks.

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) was cut to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $90 from $100 (versus an $89.07 close) at Jefferies. This is after it beat earnings and raised guidance, but Jefferies noted that this might be as good as it gets.

24/7 Wall St. has not heard much from the summer doldrums crowd nor much of a “sell in May and go away” mantra. Some investors might consider some defensive dividend payers ahead in case a long overdue correction should arise. Here are eight defensive stocks with likely upside for investors who have started to worry about a summer stock market correction.

Other key analyst calls were seen in the following:

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