Earnings season is starting to wind down and stocks have recently hit new all-time highs. Investors and traders alike are now deciding what to do in their portfolios and how to position themselves for 2014. 24/7 Wall St. spends each morning reviewing Wall Street analyst reports and summaries looking for new ideas for our readers. These are this Thursday's top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) was downgraded to Underperform from Buy with a new $30 price target at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
CenturyLink Inc. (CTL) was maintained as Buy with a $41 price target (versus a $33.89 close) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
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Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $74 from $82 (versus a $61.40 close) at Credit Suisse.
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) was downgraded to a Neutral rating from a Buy rating at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, but at the same time the firm increased 2014 estimates and raised its price target to $51 from $46.
General Electric Co. (GE), which we discussed in terms of how the stock could rise to $30 in 2014, was reiterated by Oppenheimer as Outperform ahead of the year-end meetings, and the firm also raised its price target to $29 from $28 in the call.
Halliburton Co. (HAL) was reiterated as Outperform with a $63 price target (versus a $54.40 close) at Credit Suisse. The firm called it a core holding for long-only funds as an irresistible commitment. Sterne Agee reiterated its Buy rating and $63 price target as well.
Manitowoc Co. Inc. (MTW) was started as Outperform with a $26 price target (versus a $18.90 close) at Credit Suisse.
Ritchie Bros Auctioneers Inc. (RBA) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral and the target price was lowered to $17 from $18 (versus a $20.53 close) at Credit Suisse.
Rocket Fuel Inc. (FUEL) was one of the hottest IPOs of 2013, but shares have pulled back handily. The stock closed at $44.88, against a post-IPO trading range of $44.25 to $68.56, and now we see that Oppenheimer has raised its rating to Outperform from Perform and given it a $66 price target.
Twitter, Inc. (TWTR) already has four positive analyst calls with big upside price targets even ahead of the IPO.
Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) has seen some cautionary comments after Wednesday's guidance showed perhaps "peak organic" trends. Merrill Lynch took a different stance and said the weakness is a buying opportunity. The team maintained its Buy rating and even went out and raised the price target to $68 from $62 in the call.
UBS has a list of short sale candidates from its least preferred stocks list.
J.P. Morgan also has a list of stocks that should benefit from the Obamacare rollout debacle.