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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Aetna, Alphabet, Amazon, Celgene, First Solar, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Tesla, Twitter and More

Stocks were indicated higher on Friday morning after strong earnings reports came from key stocks and after gross domestic product was higher than expected at 3.0%. The trend that has prevailed for more than five years is that investors keep finding new reasons to buy stocks after every major sell-off. Those same investors are also hunting for new investing and trading ideas to generate gains and income ahead.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of the daily analyst reports and research notes cover stocks to buy. Other reports cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Consensus analyst price target data and valuation metrics are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service. Additional color and commentary has been added on most of these daily analyst calls.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Friday, October 27, 2017.

Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) surged by 11.5% to $178.60 on Thursday on rumors that CVS would acquire the insurer, and its shares were indicated up almost 1% at $181.60 on Friday. Aetna was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $175 price target at Cantor Fitzgerald. Jefferies said the rumored acquisition would actually not be such a huge surprise since both management teams have commented in the past year about the need to more closely collaborate with key strategic partners. Aetna now has a 52-week trading range of $104.59 to $184.98, and it had a consensus analyst price target of $170.93.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) was last seen up 4.4% at $1,035.00 after beating earnings, versus a prior 52-week range of $743.59 to $1016.31. Alphabet’s prior analyst target of $1,104.92 is also ratcheting higher. Many price targets have been raised: Deutsche Bank to $1,225; B. Riley to $1,200; Citigroup to $1,200; Cantor Fitzgerald to $1,270; BMO to $1,000; SunTrust to $1,180; Raymond James to $1,200; and RBC to $1,125.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was last seen 8% at $1,055.50 after beating earnings. This is still under the 52-week high of $1,083.31, and the old $1,165 consensus target is being ratcheted higher after analysts are raising target prices. We have seen numerous targets raised: Cantor Fitzgerald to $1,360; Stifel to $1,313; Raymond James to $1,200; Wells Fargo to $1,430; Citigroup to $1,250; SunTrust to $1,270; Loop Capital to $1,300.

Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) was down 16% at $99.99 on Thursday’s close due to poor guidance after earnings. It was downgraded to Market Perform from Market Outperform at JMP Securities. Morgan Stanley raised Celgene on the weakness up to Equal Weight from Underweight but only with a $97 price target. Celgene has a 52-week range of $94.55 to $147.17, and it had a consensus price target of $137.61 prior to more cuts.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was up 1.1% to $47.92 ahead of earnings and was last seen up 9.1% at $52.30 after earnings. First Solar was raised to Buy from Hold with a $60 price target at Needham. JPMorgan raised its target to $58 from $50 and Cowen raised its target to $60 from $57. First Solar has a 52-week range of $25.56 to $53.00, and it had a consensus price target of $54.38.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was up 1.4% at $41.35 ahead of earnings, and shares were last seen up 3% at $42.70 after earnings on Friday morning. Merrill Lynch raised its rating on Intel to Buy from Neutral with a $49 price objective. Other big price targets have been seen as follows: JPMorgan raised its target to $53 from $45; Wells Fargo raised its target to $50 from $45; MKM Partners raised its target to $48 from $42; Needham raised its target to $45 from $43.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $180 price target (versus a $153.60 close) at Pivotal Research. IBM has a 52-week range of $139.13 to $182.79 and a consensus price target of $162.67.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was up 13 cents at $78.76 ahead of earnings and shares were indicated up 6% at $83.50 to new highs after earnings. Microsoft has a 52-week range of $57.28 to $79.42, and it had a consensus price target of $81.83. Now price targets are being ratcheted higher yet again: BMO raised its target to $94 from $86; Raymond James to $90 from $84; JPMorgan to $78 from $68; Citigroup to $79 from $74; RBC to $88 from $85; Canaccord Genuity to $94 from $86. Even the bearish Jefferies raised its target to $57 from $49.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) was maintained as Underperform at Jefferies with a $240 price target. Jefferies noted that its cash numbers could surprise positively but the firm has trimmed its 2017-18 estimates by 3% to 4% on delayed Model 3 ramp. Tesla was downgraded to In-Line from Outperform with a $312 price target (versus a $326.17 close) at Evercore ISI. Tesla has a 52-week range of $178.19 to $389.61 and a consensus price target of $324.33.

Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) closed up over 18% at $20.31 on Thursday after stronger than expected earnings were likely magnified by a short-covering wave. Twitter was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $21 price target at UBS. Twitter has a 52-week range of $14.12 to $20.88 and a consensus price target of $17.27. Twitter still has a market cap of almost $15 billion.

Follow @Jonogg on Twitter to receive the daily analyst calls and other market research calls directly on your feed.

Other key analyst calls were seen as follows:


Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG) was reiterated as Buy but the company was added to the Franchise Picks list at Jefferies, given its long inventory of low-cost drilling projects, cash flow generation and low leverage. The stock has a 52-week range of $82.77 to $114.00 and a consensus price target of $122.83.

Dynegy Inc. (NYSE: DYN) was downgraded to Hold From Buy by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $149 price target (versus a $147.35 close) at Merrill Lynch. Expedia has a 52-week range of $111.88 to $161.00 and a consensus price target of $171.69.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Monness Crespi & Hardt. Facebook has a 52-week range of $113.55 to $176.74 and a consensus price target of $196.18.

Gemphire Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: GEMP) was started as Overweight with a $22 price target (versus a $9.30 close) at Piper Jaffray. This was after a 3.2% drop on Thursday, and the 52-week range is $7.20 to $21.59.

IMAX Corp. (NYSE: IMAX) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan with a price target of $29 (versus a $23.40 close on Thursday).

Ingersoll-Rand PLC (NYSE: IR) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley with a price target of $98 (versus a $90.66 close). The stock has a 52-week range of $66.52 to $96.23 and a consensus price target of $98.64.

Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) was down 0.5% at $15.37 ahead of earnings, but the poor report and suspension of the dividend had shares down over 16% at $12.85 in early Friday indications. Its prior 52-week range was $14.35 to $32.48. Mattel was maintained as Hold but the target was cut to $12.50 from $14 at Jefferies.

Mercer International Inc. (NASDAQ: MERC) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Michaels Companies Inc. (NASDAQ: MIK) was downgraded to Underweight from Neutral by Piper Jaffray.

Oceaneering International Inc. (NYSE: OII) was downgraded to Neutral From Overweight by Piper Jaffray.

Okta Inc. (NASDAQ: OKTA) was started as Buy with $36 price target at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey (versus a $27.59 close).

Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Monness Crespi & Hardt.

Spirit Airlines Inc. (NASDAQ: SAVE) was maintained as In-Line but the price target was raised to $36 from $32 (versus a $36.08 close) at Imperial Capital.

Teradyne Inc. (NYSE: TER) was downgraded to In-Line From Outperform by Evercore ISI Group.

USG Corp. (NYSE: USG) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral with a $32 price objective (versus a $34.38 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Voyager Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VYGR) was started as Buy and assigned a $35 price target at Canaccord Genuity (versus a $21.54 close).

Thursday’s top analyst calls included Barrick Gold, Buffalo Wild Wings, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, GrubHub, Nabors Industries, Wynn Resorts and many more.

By Jon C. Ogg


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