Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Ambarella, Apple, Campbell Soup, Gap, Kinross Gold, Lululemon, Palo Alto Networks and More

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Stocks were indicated to open higher on Friday. The indexes were rising into a three-day weekend and into what will hopefully be the first real round of normalization in Houston and the other cities and communities affected by Harvey’s flood damage.

With the Dow back at 22,000 and the S&P 500 within about 2% of 2,500, the major stock indexes remain close to all-time highs. The trend that has prevailed for more than five years is that investors keep finding new reasons to buy stocks after every sell-off. Many investors also are hunting for new investing and trading ideas to generate gains and income.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new investing ideas and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these top analyst reports cover stocks to buy. Other analyst calls are reiterations of ratings, and some even cover stocks to sell or 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.

It’s hard to imagine that 2017 is now two-thirds of the way through. These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Friday, September 1, 2017.

Ambarella Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Craig-Hallum. After closing at $54.50 ahead of earnings, the chip-maker for video units was indicated down 14.6% at $46.48 on Friday morning. Ambarella previously had a 52-week trading range of $46.80 to $74.95, and it had a consensus analyst target price of $64.22.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $180 from $176 at RBC Capital Markets ahead of the confirmed iPhone event that will demonstrate the iPhone 8. Apple shares closed up 0.4% at $164.00 on Thursday, after hitting a new adjusted all-time of $164.52. The consensus target price is $171.01.

Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) shares fell 8% to $46.20 on Thursday after earnings and guidance. Now it was maintained as Market Perform but the price target was cut to $56 from $60 at RBC Capital Markets. Credit Suisse maintained its Underperform rating but lowered its price target to $43 from $47. Campbell Soup has a 52-week range of $46.20 to $64.23, so it hit a new 52-week low, and its consensus analyst target previously was seen at $53.14.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $24 price target (versus a $23.62 prior close) at Citigroup. It has a 52-week range of $21.02 to $30.74 and had a consensus target price of $25.33.

Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup. Shares were up 4.2% at $4.56 on Thursday and up another 3% at $4.70 on Friday. The stock has a 52-week range of $2.88 to $4.66 and a consensus target price of $5.05.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) closed down 0.1% at $57.55 on Thursday ahead of earnings, but its stock was up 6.7% at $61.40 on Friday morning. Lululemon was maintained as Hold but the price target was raised to $60 from $56 at Jefferies. RBC maintained its Outperform rating and raised its target to $66 from $64.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) was trading up after it crushed earnings. The stock was raised to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan. Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and raised its price target to $168 from $155. First Analysis raised its rating to Overweight from Equal Weight, and RBC reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $159 from $145.

Other key analyst calls were seen in the following:

AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) was reiterated as Buy with a $35 target price at Argus.

Diageo PLC (NYSE: DEO) was reiterated as Buy and the adjusted price target for the American depositary shares was raised to $154.20 from $142.25 at Jefferies.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was reiterated as Hold but the price target was raised to $73 from $68 at Jefferies.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) was maintained as Buy but the price target was cut to $30 from $33 at Jefferies.

Greif Inc. (NYSE: GEF) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $63 price objective (versus a $60.45 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF) was reiterated as Buy with a $34 target price at Argus.

Sanofi S.A. (NYSE: SNY) was reiterated as Buy at Argus, with the independent research shop calling its recent weakness a buying opportunity.

USA Compression Partners L.P. (NYSE: USAC) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $16 fair value estimate (versus a $15.78 close) at Janney.

VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) was started with a Sector Weight rating at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Abercrombie & Fitch, Arch Coal, Baker Hughes, BioMarin, Gilead Sciences, Hasbro, Snap and many more.

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