Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Abbott Labs, Baxter, Cisco, NOV, Nucor, P&G, Target and Many More

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Stocks were indicated to open lower on Thursday, but even with the turmoil in Washington, D.C., the markets are actually quite close to all-time highs. The trend that has dominated the markets for more than half of the eight-year bull market is that investors have kept finding new reasons to buy stocks after every sell-off. Those same investors are also searching for new investing and trading ideas.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of the top analyst reports cover stocks to buy, but some calls cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Additional color and commentary has been added on most of the daily analyst calls. Consensus analyst price target data are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Thursday, August 17, 2017.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) was started as Neutral with a $53 price target (versus a $49.81 prior close) at Citigroup. The stock has a 52-week trading range of $37.38 to $51.13 and a consensus analyst price target of $55.06.

Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) was started as Neutral with a $63 price target at Citigroup. Baxter has a 52-week range of $43.13 to $63.14 and a consensus price target of $67.25.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) was up 0.8% at $32.34 ahead of earnings on Wednesday, and shares were down 2.6% at $31.50 after a very mixed earnings report showing a shift of software and hardware sales trends. Cisco was maintained as Neutral with a $35 price objective at Merrill Lynch. Cowen has an Outperform rating but lowered its target to $38 from $39, and JPMorgan has a Neutral rating and cut its target to $31.50 from $33. Cisco’s 52-week range is $29.12 to $34.60, and the consensus target price is $35.77.

National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $40 price target (versus a $29.94 close) at Loop Capital. Shares closed down 1.5% at $29.94 and hit a 52-week low with a weak sector performance on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $29.90 to $43.63, and the consensus price target is $34.93.

Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets. Shares closed up 2.1% at $57.63 on Wednesday and were indicated down 0.6% at $56.40 on Thursday. Nucor’s 52-week range is  $44.81 to $68.00, and its consensus target price is $68.89.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was reiterated as Buy with a $103 price target (versus a $92.44 close) at Jefferies. It has a 52-week range of $81.18 to $92.95, and that 52-week high was just hit the prior day. It also has a consensus analyst target of $93.11.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $69 price target at MKM Partners. Target shares closed up 3.6% at $56.31 after earnings, in a 52-week range of $48.56 to $79.33. Target’s consensus analyst target price was last seen at $58.91.

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Thursday’s other top analyst calls were seen as follows: