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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Activision, EPL, MagicJack, VMware and More

Jon C. Ogg

Stocks have pulled back marginally after hitting new highs, and investors remain wary. They want upside, but also do not want to get caught buying the top or get caught in the next sell-off. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning to find new ideas. Some cover stocks to buy, some cover stocks to sell. These are this Thursday's top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.

Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the target price was raised to $25 from $20 at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Also, Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch.

ALSO READ: Low P/E High-Dividend Blue Chip Leaders to Buy Now

EPL Oil & Gas Inc. (EPL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus, to Neutral from Accumulate at Global Hunter and to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets.

MagicJack VocalTec Ltd. (CALL) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $24 from $17 at Canaccord Genuity; shares are up 20% or so around the $20 mark after solid earnings.

VMware Inc. (VMW) was reiterated as Outperform, but the virtualization leader was added to the U.S. Focus List, at Credit Suisse; FBR Capital markets maintained its Outperform rating and raised its price target to $120 from $115.

Other Key Analyst Calls

Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays.

Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays.

Express Inc. (EXPR) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital Markets.

Perfect World Co. Ltd. (PWRD) was started with an Outperform rating at Credit Suisse.

PVH Corp. (PVH) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo Securities, and it was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. (QIHU) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

UIL Holdings Corp. (UIL) was raised to Buy with a $43 price target (versus a $36.13 close) at Argus.

YY Inc. (YY) was started with an Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse initiated coverage of the following Chinese Web names at Neutral NetEase, Changyou, Boyaa, Forgame and IGG, either due to rich valuation or low earnings visibility.

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