Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Monday, but all eyes remain on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) ahead of this week’s interest rate hike decision. The odds have risen sharply in recent weeks that a rate hike will be seen. Even with the bull market now eight years old, investors have bought stocks on every pullback. Those same investors are also looking for new trading and investing ideas.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. The goal is to find new investing ideas and trading ideas for our readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.
Some color has been added on many of the following calls, and the consensus analyst price targets referenced are from Thomson Reuters. These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Monday, March 13, 2017:
American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) was downgraded to Sell from Hold and the price target was cut to $57 from $61 at Deutsche Bank. AIG was indicated down 1.7% at $62.01 on the call, but this was after last week’s CEO announcement that Peter Hancock would leave his post once a successor is found. AIG has a 52-week trading range of $48.41 to $67.47, and this would indicate the sixth consecutive daily drop in its shares.
Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley. The firm feels that Boeing’s valuation is high, now that its shares have risen about 40% since mid-2016, while its earnings potential is largely unchanged. Boeing closed down 1% at $178.70 on Friday, and it has a 52-week range of $122.35 to $185.71.
GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Telsey Advisory Group. The firm’s prior view that the company’s physical video game sales would decline slower than expected has not held up. The stock was up 2.3% at $25.18 as of Friday’s closing bell, and no trading indications were seen early Monday. GameStop has a 52-week range of $20.10 to $33.72, and it has a consensus analyst price target of $26.32.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) was reiterated as Neutral with a $76 price objective (versus a $68.19 prior close) at Merrill Lynch. The call is after reports from Bloomberg regarding a potential acquisition of Incyte, mainly due to declining HCV franchise even with the growing HIV business. Gilead’s 52-week range is $65.38 to $103.10, and it has a consensus price target of $79.15.
Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) was reiterated as Outperform and with a $65 price target at Wedbush Securities. The firm’s checks indicate 3% U.S. comparable sales growth in the second quarter and with acceleration in recent weeks. The firm also believes that 15% earnings growth on mid-single-digit comparable sales growth is realistic for fiscal year 2017.
CIGNA Corp. (NYSE: CI) was started as Buy with a $175 price objective (versus a $151.92 close) at Merrill Lynch. The call noted significant upside potential with a positive view on the core business with upcoming catalysts. The firm sees solid commercial and solid international growth ahead.
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Other key analyst calls were seen in the following: