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Upgrades & Downgrades: AAPL, RIMM, FTEK, LVLT, and JNPR

Analysts adjusted their ratings on AAPL, RIMM, FTEK, LVLT, and JNPR

by 2/23/2012 11:38 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

Analysts are weighing in today on iPad parent Apple Inc. (AAPL - 515.66), BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Limited (RIMM - 14.78), pollution control company Fuel Tech, Inc. (FTEK - 6.59), tech stock Level 3 Communications, Inc. (LVLT - 22.77), and IT infrastructure specialist Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR - 23.46). Here's a quick roundup of today's upgrades and downgrades of note.

  • Starting with AAPL, Brigantine this morning started coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating. Most analysts have already boarded AAPL's bullish bandwagon, with Zacks reporting 38 "buy" or better recommendations, compared to just two "holds" and zero "sells." AAPL is up 0.5% as we head toward midday, building on its sizable year-to-date gain of 26.7%. The stock is currently on pace to collect its fifth straight daily finish atop the $500 level.
  • Brigantine also weighed in on RIMM, deeming the stock worthy of a middling "neutral" recommendation. After starting the day in negative territory, RIMM has bounced back to add 0.8% at last look. However, the shares remain pinned beneath resistance at their 10-day moving average, which hasn't been bested on a daily closing basis since Feb. 6. Over the past 52 weeks, in fact, RIMM has shed no less than 77.5% of its value.
  • FTEK has rallied 3.1% so far, boosted by a new "buy" endorsement from Brean Murray Carret. The stock is now testing resistance at its 50-week moving average -- a former layer of support that has switched roles to hold FTEK in check since last June. Most brokerage firms are lukewarm on the security, with Zacks reporting that four out of six analysts maintain an iffy "hold" rating.
  • Morgan Stanley upgraded LVLT to "overweight" from "equal weight," sending the stock to a gain of about 9% at last check. The shares have turned in a healthy 23% gain so far in 2012, and LVLT is now on track to finish February above both its 10-month and 20-month moving averages -- a technical feat not accomplished since last October. On the other hand, LVLT's 150-day trendline, which capped several rally attempts last fall, is looming directly overhead.
  • Finally, JNPR has shed 1.4% following a downgrade to "market perform" from "outperform" at FBR. The brokerage firm simultaneously trimmed its price target to $21 from $25, representing a discount to Wednesday's close at $23.78. With JNPR stuck beneath familiar pressure in the $25 area, the majority of analysts already maintain a mediocre rating on the shares. Currently, Zacks reports 17 "holds," compared to just 11 "buy" or better suggestions.

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