Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Best Buy, Dollar General, Intuit, McDonald’s, P&G, Symantec, China Telecom and More

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Stocks managed to hit a new high in the week of August 12, and the markets were indicated up on Monday morning. Despite the S&P 500 being valued at 18.1 times forward earnings, low interest rates and a lack of choices for return keep driving investors toward stocks.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy. Other reports feature stocks to sell or avoid.

One interesting issue to consider now is that it would really only require the upside from seven of the 30 Dow stocks to get to DJIA 20,000 in 2017.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Monday morning:

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $36 from $39 (versus a $34.87 prior close) at Jefferies. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $25.31 to $39.10 and a consensus analyst price target of $33.14.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $96 from $101 (versus a $92.91 close) at Jefferies. The 52-week range is $59.75 to $96.88, and the consensus price target is $99.80.

Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) was maintained as Sector Perform but the price target was raised to $113 from $93 at RBC Capital Markets. The stock has a 52-week range of $79.63 to $116.97 and a consensus price target of $110.47.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus. The shares have a 52-week range of $87.50 to $131.96 and a consensus price target of $130.29.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $105 price target (versus an $87.04 close) at B. Riley. The 52-week range is $65.02 to $87.45. The consensus price target is $90.56.

Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) was started with a Buy rating and was given a $26 price target (versus a $22.54 close) at Goldman Sachs. The consensus price target is $23.28, and the 52-week range is $16.14 to $22.58.

Merrill Lynch is out with Buy ratings on the three major Chinese wireless and telecom stocks. China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA), China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) and China Unicom (NYSE: CHU) were all reinstated with Buy ratings. China Telecom is actually the firm’s top pick of the three, as its free cash flow yield will double to 9% with an attractive valuation with 32% implied upside. The firm believes that China Unicom’s sharp free cash flow yield turnaround will drive a rerating.  China Mobile was given 24% implied upside with rapid 4G migration and a mobile data traffic boost.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgraded were seen as follows: