Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Advance Auto Parts, Cliffs Natural, Foot Locker, Nabors, Sensata, Stanley Black & Decker and More

Indexes popped higher after a stronger than expected payrolls report on Friday and after a very choppy week. The bull market is now well over eight years old, but so far equity investors have proven over and over that they will still buy any major pullback or sell-off in stocks. Those same investors also continue to search for new investing and trading ideas.

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

Additional color and commentary also has been added on most of the daily analyst calls. Consensus analyst price target data are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Friday, July 7, 2017.

Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP) has been hit along with the auto parts retailers, but Jefferies raised its rating to Buy from Hold after noting that it has a discounted valuation and that there is a long-term margin opportunity. While this is a rating upgrade for Advance Auto Parts, the price target was cut to $130 from $150 (versus a $103.16 prior close). Advance Auto Parts was also downgraded in a sector call to Underperform from Neutral by Merrill Lynch.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $9 price target at Jefferies. The firm noted that Cliffs is an under-recognized beneficiary of the U.S. steel market strength, and pending trade protections may help ensure higher average selling prices and demand for its high-grade pellets into 2018.

Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL) was started with a Perform rating at Oppenheimer.

ICON PLC (NASDAQ: ICLR) was already rated as Buy at Goldman Sachs, but the firm added ICON to the prized Conviction Buy List. The price target was $117, versus a $96.49 closing price.

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (NYSE: IFF) was started as Market Perform at Raymond James.

Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $40 from $35 (versus a $35.16 close) at Jefferies.

Nabors Industries Ltd. (NYSE: NBR) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo.

Oil States International Inc. (NYSE: OIS) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo.

Oshkosk Corp. (NYSE: OSK) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral with a $60 price objective (versus a $68.87 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE: DOC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Quintiles IMS Holdings Inc. (NYSE: Q) was raised to Neutral from Underperform with a $93 price target (versus an $87.86 close) at Robert W. Baird.

Sensata Technologies Holding N.V. (NYSE: ST) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $52 price target (versus a $42.97 close) at Barclays.

Spark Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: SPKE) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim.

Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (NYSE: SWK) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $166 price target at MKM Partners.

Winnebago Industries Inc. (NYSE: WGO) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $40 price target at Stifel.

In the sector call for auto parts, Merrill Lynch downgraded Advance Auto Parts to Underperform and downgraded O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: ORLY) and AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) to Neutral from Buy.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included AutoZone, O’Reilly Automotive, Immunogen, Medtronic, Nike, OncoSec, Schlumberger and many more.

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