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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: BlackBerry, Micron, SanDisk, VIVUS and More

Jon C. Ogg

With the government shut down and with the debt ceiling debate breathing down everyone's neck, investors have to be wondering what they should buy, sell and hold (or even avoid). Stocks have come down from their highs, and some market pundits think stocks will rise and some think stocks will tank. Each morning 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of Wall Street analyst research reports, looking for fresh ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these 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. We have two summary calls first today, and the individual summaries of individual companies follows.

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Cowen & Co. updated its coverage of obesity drug stocks: VIVUS Inc. (VVUS) was raised to Outperform and the price target was raised to $19 from $13.50 (versus a $10.19 close). Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (OREX) was started as Outperform with a $10 price target (versus a $6.06 close). And Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARNA) was started as Market Perform.

Sterne Agee has a pairs trade idea in a long/short trade in specialty apparel. The firm thinks you can go long Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) and go short The Gap Inc. (GPS). We do not usually see these ideas much these days, but the firm highlighted factors such as merchandising, inventory, valuation spread and sentiment. Sterne Agee is at a Buy on Urban Outfitters, with a $45 price target (versus a $36.92 close), and is at Underperform on Gap, with a $38 price target (versus a $40.86 close).

Angie's List Inc. (ANGI) was started as Buy at MKM Partners after recent weakness and business problems we identified this week.

BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform with a new $4.50 price target at Bernstein, but Citigroup raised its rating to Neutral from Sell based on a possible bidding war.

China Mobile Ltd. (CHL) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Five Below Inc. (FIVE) was raised to Buy from Neutral, and its price target was raised to $56 price from $44 (versus a $46.60 close) based on the chance to double its earnings in the next five years, according to Sterne Agee.

Micron Technology Inc. (MU) was reiterated as Outperform, but the price target was raised to $25 from $20 based on higher reset in profitability after competitor woes, at Credit Suisse.

Murphy Oil Corp. (MUR) was started as Neutral with a $70 price target (versus a $62.01 close) at Credit Suisse.

SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) was reiterated as Buy with a $70 price target and its earnings and sales estimates were raised for 2013 and 2014 based on solid flash memory pricing and healthy demand for mobile devices, according to Argus.

Yandex NV (YNDX) was started as Buy at Citigroup.

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