Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alkermes, ArQule, Bluebird Bio, Cognizant, Ecolab, KLA-Tencor, Pandora, Verisk, Vonage and More

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The stock market has demonstrated that perhaps the return of volatility is real after Wednesday’s big gains suddenly turned into a big loss in the final 30 minutes of trading. Now stocks are indicated just marginally higher after digesting more of the verbiage from the FOMC minutes yesterday. With the bull market approaching nine years old, the trend that has worked without fail for roughly six years has been to buy the dips every time. Investors still have to decide how they want to be positioned for 2018 and beyond.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week to find ideas for investors and traders alike. Some analyst reports and research reports cover stocks to buy. Others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Additional color and commentary has been added on most of the daily analyst reports. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP) was reiterated as Buy with a $135 price target (versus a $114.00 prior close) at Argus. The independent research firm noted that new CEO Tom Greco is the right executive for the job and that he will deliver operating improvements that will drive shares higher.

Alkermes PLC (NASDAQ: ALKS) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $66 price target (versus a $63.19 close) at Jefferies.

ArQule Inc. (NASDAQ: ARQL) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $5 price target (versus a $1.67 close) at Roth Capital. ArQule has a mere $145 million market cap, and the 52-week trading range is $0.92 to $1.98.

Bluebird Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: BLUE) has seen mixed results after earnings. BMO Capital Markets maintained its Outperform rating and raised its target price to $222 from $215. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated its Underweight rating.

Carter’s Inc. (NYSE: CRI) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $135 from $125 at Oppenheimer.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $100 price target (versus an $81.80 close) at Argus.

Colfax Corp. (NYSE: CFX) was reiterated as Buy with a $40 price target (versus a $33.36 close) at Argus, with the independent research shop saying that the recent weakness offers a buying opportunity.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE: ECL) was reiterated as Buy with a $150 price target (versus a $129.90 close) at Argus, which noted that solid earnings and a raised dividend should help rectify its underperformance as a stock over the past quarter.

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