Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Aetna, Alphabet, Amazon, Celgene, First Solar, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Tesla, Twitter and More

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Stocks were indicated higher on Friday morning after strong earnings reports came from key stocks and after gross domestic product was higher than expected at 3.0%. The trend that has prevailed for more than five years is that investors keep finding new reasons to buy stocks after every major sell-off. Those same investors are also hunting for new investing and trading ideas to generate gains and income ahead.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of the daily analyst reports and research notes cover stocks to buy. Other reports cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

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

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Friday, October 27, 2017.

Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) surged by 11.5% to $178.60 on Thursday on rumors that CVS would acquire the insurer, and its shares were indicated up almost 1% at $181.60 on Friday. Aetna was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $175 price target at Cantor Fitzgerald. Jefferies said the rumored acquisition would actually not be such a huge surprise since both management teams have commented in the past year about the need to more closely collaborate with key strategic partners. Aetna now has a 52-week trading range of $104.59 to $184.98, and it had a consensus analyst price target of $170.93.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) was last seen up 4.4% at $1,035.00 after beating earnings, versus a prior 52-week range of $743.59 to $1016.31. Alphabet’s prior analyst target of $1,104.92 is also ratcheting higher. Many price targets have been raised: Deutsche Bank to $1,225; B. Riley to $1,200; Citigroup to $1,200; Cantor Fitzgerald to $1,270; BMO to $1,000; SunTrust to $1,180; Raymond James to $1,200; and RBC to $1,125.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was last seen 8% at $1,055.50 after beating earnings. This is still under the 52-week high of $1,083.31, and the old $1,165 consensus target is being ratcheted higher after analysts are raising target prices. We have seen numerous targets raised: Cantor Fitzgerald to $1,360; Stifel to $1,313; Raymond James to $1,200; Wells Fargo to $1,430; Citigroup to $1,250; SunTrust to $1,270; Loop Capital to $1,300.

Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) was down 16% at $99.99 on Thursday’s close due to poor guidance after earnings. It was downgraded to Market Perform from Market Outperform at JMP Securities. Morgan Stanley raised Celgene on the weakness up to Equal Weight from Underweight but only with a $97 price target. Celgene has a 52-week range of $94.55 to $147.17, and it had a consensus price target of $137.61 prior to more cuts.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was up 1.1% to $47.92 ahead of earnings and was last seen up 9.1% at $52.30 after earnings. First Solar was raised to Buy from Hold with a $60 price target at Needham. JPMorgan raised its target to $58 from $50 and Cowen raised its target to $60 from $57. First Solar has a 52-week range of $25.56 to $53.00, and it had a consensus price target of $54.38.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was up 1.4% at $41.35 ahead of earnings, and shares were last seen up 3% at $42.70 after earnings on Friday morning. Merrill Lynch raised its rating on Intel to Buy from Neutral with a $49 price objective. Other big price targets have been seen as follows: JPMorgan raised its target to $53 from $45; Wells Fargo raised its target to $50 from $45; MKM Partners raised its target to $48 from $42; Needham raised its target to $45 from $43.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $180 price target (versus a $153.60 close) at Pivotal Research. IBM has a 52-week range of $139.13 to $182.79 and a consensus price target of $162.67.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was up 13 cents at $78.76 ahead of earnings and shares were indicated up 6% at $83.50 to new highs after earnings. Microsoft has a 52-week range of $57.28 to $79.42, and it had a consensus price target of $81.83. Now price targets are being ratcheted higher yet again: BMO raised its target to $94 from $86; Raymond James to $90 from $84; JPMorgan to $78 from $68; Citigroup to $79 from $74; RBC to $88 from $85; Canaccord Genuity to $94 from $86. Even the bearish Jefferies raised its target to $57 from $49.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) was maintained as Underperform at Jefferies with a $240 price target. Jefferies noted that its cash numbers could surprise positively but the firm has trimmed its 2017-18 estimates by 3% to 4% on delayed Model 3 ramp. Tesla was downgraded to In-Line from Outperform with a $312 price target (versus a $326.17 close) at Evercore ISI. Tesla has a 52-week range of $178.19 to $389.61 and a consensus price target of $324.33.

Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) closed up over 18% at $20.31 on Thursday after stronger than expected earnings were likely magnified by a short-covering wave. Twitter was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $21 price target at UBS. Twitter has a 52-week range of $14.12 to $20.88 and a consensus price target of $17.27. Twitter still has a market cap of almost $15 billion.

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Other key analyst calls were seen as follows: