Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, 3D Systems, Micron, Tesla and More

December 3, 2013 by Jon C. Ogg

investor research
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Stocks have finally shown that they can drop again, and Tuesday is looking a tad soft so far. After gains of well over 20% in the DJIA and S&P 500 so far in 2013, investors and traders alike are looking to position themselves for 2014. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of research reports from Wall Street each morning looking for what the analyst community considers to be stocks to buy and stocks to sell. This is a montage of this Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen from Wall Street research firms.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $650 from $540 at UBS. The consensus price target is only about $580 currently, versus a closing price of $551.23. Note that the 52-week high is down to $581.80, now that the old highs have rolled back over a year ago, and the highest analyst price target is up at $777, according to Thomson Reuters.

3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) was started as Outperform and with an $85 price target (versus a $76.89 close) at FBR Capital Markets in a call on Monday evening. Readers should note that the consensus price target is now under the stock price at about $69.50, though the highest price target is up at $90.00 for 3D Systems. The 52-week range is $27.88 to $84.85, and 3D Systems has seen its market cap grow to nearly $8 billion.

Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was started with a Buy rating and a high $30 price target (versus a $21.27 close) at Needham & Co. What stands out about this call is that this is upside of about 41%, and it is the second highest price target on the street. Most firms have downgraded Micron either because of valuation or because of the exponential price gain in the past year.

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) may have been called a stock to sell on Monday, but Tuesday’s rating montage is a different story. Morgan Stanley has dubbed it a top pick with a better risk-adjusted return than any of the car company stocks. The firm’s price target remains $153, and it said that shares have gone from 20% overvalued to 20% undervalued. This is also after a German safety agency cleared its Model S in a fire probe.

Other notable analyst calls include:

Albany Molecular Research Inc. (NASDAQ: AMRI) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was lowered to $12 from $15 at Sterne Agee.

AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Brown-Forman Corp. (NYSE: BF-B) was started as Buy with a $90 price target (versus a $73.88 close) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $603 from $524 at Sterne Agee.

Cobalt International Energy Inc. (NYSE: CIE) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $26 from $40 (versus an $18.54 close) at Credit Suisse.

Deckers Outdoor Corp. (NASDAQ: DECK) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $91 from $81 based on accelerating sales, according to Canaccord Genuity.

Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN) was raised to Buy from Hold with a target price of $70 at Argus.

Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) was raised to Buy from Neutral but the price target was maintained at $24 (versus $16.75 close) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Fusion-io Inc. (NYSE: FIO) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE: HBC) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Nomura.

IMAX Corp. (NASDAQ: IMAX) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target is $30 (versus a $29.96 closing price) at Goldman Sachs.

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) was raised to the prized Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs, although this was rated as Buy already.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) was maintained as Buy but it was removed from the prized Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) was downgraded to Neutral with a $73 price target at B. Riley.

Credit Suisse has raised its end of 2014 target on the S&P 500 to 1,960 from its prior 1,900 target.