Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Citigroup, Chipotle, Exxon, Occidental, Regions Financial, T-Mobile, Williams, Paychex and More

January 11, 2017 by Jon C. Ogg

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Stocks were looking for direction on Wednesday, based on mixed overseas trading and ahead of Trump’s press conference. The post-election rally remains alive and investors are looking for value and growth opportunities in 2017. Investors have continued to buy pullbacks even though this bull market is almost eight years old.

24/7 Wall St. has also released its Dow Jones Industrial Average bullish and bear outlook for 2017, and the forecast is now for Dow 21,422.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst reports each day of the week to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell to avoid.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Wednesday, January 11, 2017:

UBS started Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) with a Sell rating and assigned a $58 price target (versus a $60.23 prior close). The shares have a 52-week trading range of $34.52 to $61.63, and the consensus analyst price target is $63.76.

Despite store sales being lower, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was up 4.9% to $414.48 on Tuesday. The stock was reiterated as Underperform with a $300 price target at Jefferies. Wedbush Securities maintained its Neutral rating and $400 price target.

Not only did Wells Fargo downgrade Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) to Market Perform from Outperform but it cut the valuation range to $87 to $93 from a prior $92 to $100 range. Shares have traded between $71.55 and $95.55 in the past 52 weeks, and the consensus price target is $88.64.

BMO Capital Markets downgraded Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) to Market Perform from Outperform with a $70 price target (versus a $69.35 close). Wells Fargo said that it prefers Occidental over Exxon, and while there was no rating change, the firm did raise its valuation range to $80 to $84 from the prior $79 to $84.

Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE: RF) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $13 price target at UBS. Its shares were up 1.3% to $14.56 on Tuesday, but they were indicated down 1.8% at $14.30 on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $7.00 to $14.73. The consensus price target is $15.07.

Argus reiterated T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) as Buy and raised its price target to $70 from $61 (versus a $58.74 close). The 52-week range is $33.23 to $59.46, and the consensus price target is $60.00.

After announcing a more concentrated structure and large share sale, Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB) shares were down 10.7% to $28.50. Now Barclays has cut its rating to Equal Weight from Overweight, and the price target was cut to $28 from $35. Williams has a 52-week range of $10.22 to $32.69.

Paychex Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) was raised to Market Perform from Underperform with a $59 price target (versus a $60.81 close) at Sanford Bernstein. The consensus price target is $57.80, and the 52-week range is $45.76 to $62.18.

Furthermore, here are the top technology analyst stock picks for 2017.

Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen in the following:

  • ConAgra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.
  • Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo.
  • Energy Recovery Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned an $18 price target (versus a $10.73 close) at Stephens.
  • EQT Corp. (NYSE: EQT) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $73 price target (versus a $63.34 close) at BMO Capital Markets.
  • Grubhub Inc. (NYSE: GRUB) was started as Outperform with a $48 price target at Credit Suisse. The firm said that GrubHub is well positioned for the takeout online share shift and even called it a favorite Trump trade.
  • Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $50 price target (versus a $36.99 close) at BMO Capital Markets.
  • Novadaq Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: NVDQ) was maintained as Outperform but the price target was cut to $11 from $18 (versus a $7.65 close) at Wedbush Securities. This is after Novadaq preannounced lower than expected results and guidance, but Wedbush continues to believe that its SPY technology remains well positioned to become the standard of care imaging modality across various types of surgical procedures.
  • SAP A.G. (NYSE: SAP) was started as Outperform (versus an $88.63 close) at Wells Fargo.
  • Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $25.50 price target (versus a $23.55 close) at Piper Jaffray.
  • U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $60 price target (versus a $51.22 close) at UBS.
  • Visteon Corp. (NYSE: VC) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $105 price target (versus an $86.53 close) at Raymond James.
  • Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) was raised to Strong Buy from Market Perform with a $44 price target (versus a $38.62 close) at Raymond James.

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Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included American Express, Goldman Sachs, Illumina, PayPal, Trivago, Williams Companies and a dozen more.