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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alkermes, Aurora Cannabis, BlackRock, Duke Energy, Nvidia, Ralph Lauren, SunPower, Veeva Systems, Yelp and More

The futures traded modestly higher on Friday morning as traders and investors surveyed the end of what was, for the most part, a record-breaking week. Concerns over the coronavirus remain in the forefront across Wall Street, as the final impact remains unknown. Many investors have yet to make any major changes to their holdings after the incredible gains from 2019. This is an election year with much at stake, and strategists are largely calling for single-digit percentage gains in 2020.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is to try to find new ideas for traders and long-term investors alike. Some of the daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy, while some calls cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

We have provided these analyst calls in a quick-hit summary for easy reading, and additional comments and trading data have been added on many of the calls. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations from Friday, February 14, 2020.

Alkermes PLC (NASDAQ: ALKS) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch, which lowered its price target for the shares to $20. The Wall Street consensus price target is $24. The last trade on Thursday was reported at $17.65,  down almost 8% on the day despite solid fourth-quarter results.

Ares Management Corp. (NASDAQ: ARES) saw its target price raised to $46 from $41 at Goldman Sachs, which maintained a Buy rating on the stock. The consensus price target is $40.08. The last trade on Thursday was reported at $41.10.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NASDAQ: ACB) was raised to Neutral from Sell at MKM Partners. The stock has traded between $1.43 and $10.32 over the past 52 weeks, and a consensus price target was unavailable. The stock was last seen on Thursday at $1.47m near that 52-week low, but it was up almost 8% in the premarket.

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank, which maintained a $584 price objective. The consensus price target for the money management colossus is $592.29. The stock closed Thursday at $568.55.

Brighthouse Financial Inc. (NASDAQ: BHF) was upgraded to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $57 from $42 at Goldman Sachs. The consensus target is $41.83. The stock closed Thursday at $45.98.

CF Industries Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CF) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with the price target lowered to $43 at Citigroup. Note that the consensus target is $50.68. The stock ended Thursday at $39.34 per share, down almost 6% as fourth-quarter results missed sales and earnings estimates.

Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) was upgraded to Neutral from Underperform and the price target was raised to $106 at Merrill Lynch. The consensus price target is $99.25, and the stock was last seen trading at $100.11, up over 2% on the day.

International Paper Co. (NYSE: IP) was resumed in coverage at Credit Suisse, which set a $48 price target. The consensus target is $46.17. The shares closed Thursday at $4.45, down 2.3%.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that earnings and analyst outlooks do not look good going forward. Shares last closed at $114.23 and have a consensus analyst target of $118.39.

LivePerson Inc. (NASDAQ: LPSN) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer. The 52-week trading range for the shares is $25.15 to $45.21. The consensus price target is $46.83. The company reported an ugly fourth-quarter loss, despite topping revenue estimates. While the last print on Thursday came in at $44.98, the shares were down a sharp 17% in the premarket.