Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Cisco, Expedia, Exxon, First Solar, Noble, Shake Shack, Symantec and More

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Stocks got hammered on Wednesday after growing concerns that all or most of the pro-business efforts driving the market will be delayed or derailed. Major equity indexes were indicated lower again on Thursday, with the Dow indicated down 65 points and the S&P 500 indicated down five points. That may sound like another very negative trading day, but the Dow was down 372 points and the S&P 500 was down almost 44 points on Wednesday.

Investors need to consider that the markets are still very close to all-time highs. And even with the bull market more than eight years old, those same investors need to consider that investors have found myriad reasons to buy every single major sell-off for more than five years now. Investors and traders alike 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 and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy and others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Some additional color and commentary has been added on most of the following analyst calls, and the consensus sell-side analyst price targets are taken from Thomson Reuters. These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) barely beat earnings estimates, but softer guidance had shares indicated down 7.1% at $31.42 on Thursday morning. Cisco was maintained as Market Perform and the target was cut to $32 from $35 at BMO Capital Markets. Oppenheimer maintained its Outperform rating and $36 target, and Credit Suisse kept its Outperform rating and $40 price target. Merrill Lynch maintained its Neutral rating and lowered its price objective to $35 from $36, noting that the worst of its transition has yet to come.

Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. Shares closed down 3.4% at $140.41 on Wednesday and were indicated down 1% more at $139.00 on Thursday. Expedia has a 52-week trading range of $96.58 to $145.77 and a consensus analyst target price of $152.86.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was reiterated as Buy and put on the Focus List with a price target of $104 (versus an $81.99 prior closing price) at Argus. Exxon was noted as appearing favorably valued relative to peers, and it continues to benefit from its diverse asset base and strong cost controls. The 52-week range is $80.30 to $95.55, and the consensus target price is $86.70.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $38 price target (versus a $34.98 close) at Robert W. Baird. First Solar has a 52-week range of $25.56 to $51.33 and a consensus analyst target of $35.39.

Noble Corp. PLC (NYSE: NE) was raised to Neutral from Reduce with a $5 price target (versus a $4.35 close) at Instinet. The 52-week range is $4.16 to $9.73. The consensus target price is $6.57.

Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and the price target was raised to $43 from $33 (versus a $36.65 close) at Wedbush Securities. The upgrade was based on more realistic same-store sales growth expectations and on the potential for upside from new unit strength. Shake Shack has a 52-week range of $30.36 to $42.94.

Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $33 price target (versus a $30.12 close) at UBS. Symantec has a 52-week range of $16.77 to $33.22. It also has a consensus target price of $32.71.

Warren Buffett’s top stock holdings contained massive changes as his portfolio for Berkshire Hathaway has now risen to some $161 billion.

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Other key analyst calls were in seen the following: