Now that the markets have normalized after the post-election rally, they were looking for direction on Friday. Some of the key stocks that have been considered beneficiaries of the election have risen 15% to 20% in the past 10 days. That is not normal at all, and it might mean that more selective selling or profit taking can be seen.
Investors are looking for new ideas to generate gains or income. It has been proven now for over five years that investors will buy sell-offs and market dips. The headwinds just haven’t mattered: rising bond yields, coming Federal Reserve rate hikes, high valuations and a huge political upset. This bull market is now also closer to eight years old than seven.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and others cover stocks to sell or avoid.
These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations on Friday morning:
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $57 price target (versus a $55.45 close) at Macquarie. It closed up 1.5% at $55.45 on Thursday, in a 52-week trading range of $34.52 to $55.98, and it has a consensus analyst price target of $57.29. Keep in mind that the shares are up 15% over the past two weeks.
First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $25 price target (versus a $31.16 close) at UBS. The 52-week range is $28.60 to $74.29, and the consensus price target is $37.18. While this was at $33.49 on election day, noted that its guidance took shares down from over $40 the prior week.
Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $25 price target (versus a $30.71 close) at Citigroup. The shares were up 0.9% ahead of earnings and hit a 52-week high of $30.74, but the guidance and coming ad spending had shares down 6.7% at $28.65 on last look.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE: HPE) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $29 price target (versus a $23.60 close) up at Raymond James. The consensus target price is $23.25.
Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform with a $47 price target at BMO Capital Markets. The firm feels the post-scandal pricing has risen too much. The stock has a 52-week range of $43.55 to $56.26 and a consensus target price of $50.70.
American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was started as Underweight with a $65 price target (versus a $71.78 close) at Stephens. It has a 52-week range of $50.27 to $73.35, and the consensus price target was $68.83.
United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $125 target price (versus a $113.49 close) at BMO Capital Markets. UPS has a consensus analyst target of $112.26 and a 52-week range of $87.30 to $114.75.
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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen in the following: