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Friday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Caesars, Charter, Corning, GE, Home Depot, Plug Power, 3M and More

Mesa Laboratories Inc. (NASDAQ: MLAB): This scientific instruments maker was named as the Bull of the Day stock at Zacks, which said that key M&A boosts sales and earnings, as well as opens the path to new business with the Clinical Genomics Division. Shares most recently closed at $309.37 and have a consensus price target of $320.00.

Northern Trust Corp. (NASDAQ: NTRS): UBS raised its Neutral rating on the bank to Buy from and boosted the target price to $125 from $112. The consensus target is $121.21. The final trade on Thursday was reported at $112.95.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG): Barclays upgraded the shares to Equal Weight from Underweight and has a $27 price target. The consensus target is much higher at $42.51. The stock closed trading on Thursday at $26.09, which was up over 6% for the day.

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI): JPMorgan downgraded the satellite radio leader to Neutral from Overweight and trimmed the price target to $7 from $8. The consensus target is $7.60. The final trade for Thursday was at $6.29 a share.

3M Co. (NYSE: MMM): Wells Fargo started coverage of the industrial giant with an Equal Weight rating and a $179 price target. The consensus target is $195.01. The stock closed on Thursday at $177.80.

Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE: UNP): JPMorgan upgraded the transportation giant to Overweight from Neutral and lifted the target price to $247 from $234. The $244.30 consensus target also compares to Thursday’s closing price of $211.88 per share.

Five Dividend Aristocrat stocks have reasonable upside to the Wall Street targets and, of course, they pay very dependable dividends. With even moderate appreciation in the share prices of the top companies, investors should be looking at double-digit total return potential.

Note that four copper-mining stocks pay outstanding dividends now.

Thursday’s early top analyst upgrades and downgrades included AT&T, Alibaba, Ally Financial, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Box, Citrix Systems, Nio, Schlumberger and TJX Companies. Analyst calls seen later in the day were on Amazon.com, Bank of America, Walt Disney and more.

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