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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Angie’s List, Itron, NVIDIA, Regeneron, Sempra, More

Jon C. Ogg

Earnings season is winding down and the markets are proving to be volatile so far in 2014. Analysts and investors alike are trying to adjust their expectations for 2014 to reflect the new trading climate. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of Wall Street analyst research reports each morning for new ideas. Some are stocks to buy and some are stocks to sell. These are this Thursday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.

Angie's List Inc. (ANGI) shares are down handily -- almost 20% to $13.70 -- after missing earnings estimates. The stock was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus and was downgraded to Market Perform from a prior Strong Buy rating at Raymond James. RBC Capital Markets maintained an Outperform rating.

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Itron Inc. (ITRI) is trading down around $31 after closing at $39.19, for a new 52-week low, after its earnings missed expectations. We have seen shares downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity, downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at J.P. Morgan and downgraded to Sell from Hold at Brean Capital. Credit Suisse maintained a Neutral rating but cut the price target to $38 from $45.

NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) beat earnings and is trading up almost 5% at $16.13 on the news. The stock was raised to Buy from Neutral, and the price target was raised all the way up to a new street high of $21 from $14, at B. Riley. Canaccord Genuity maintained its Hold rating based on limited growth prospects.

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform with a $325 price target at Oppenheimer. Goldman Sachs raised its price target to $383 from $353.

Sempra Energy (SRE) has two different calls entirely on the heels of news that it receives Department of Energy approval for its liquid natural gas (LNG) export license for Louisiana liquefaction. The stock was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup, and it was started with an Outperform rating at Wells Fargo.

Nomura has many initiations in the retail and apparel sector, and we only highlighted the larger calls. That round of calls and other key analyst calls for Thursday are as follows:

Chimerix Inc. (CMRX) was started with a Buy rating at Canaccord Genuity, which cited changing paradigms for post-transplant infection risk.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) was started as Buy at Nomura.

Dean Foods Co. (DF) remains under post-earnings pressure. The food company saw its targets lowered by BMO Capital Markets, KeyCorp and Sanford Bernstein.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP) was started with a Reduce, the equivalent of a Sell rating, at Nomura.

Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) was started with a Buy rating at Nomura.

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Nike Inc. (NKE) initiated with a Buy at Nomura

Target Corp. (TGT) was started as Neutral at Nomura.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) was started with a Buy rating at Nomura.

Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) was maintained at Buy but the target was cut to $60 from $61 at Sterne Agee. Argus said that it maintained its Hold rating based on it being fully valued. Credit Suisse maintained a Neutral rating and lowered estimates.

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