Investing

7 Unusual Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades of the Day (ADBE, APOL, AMAT, CHH, LPSN, BIN, WAG)

Source: Jon Ogg
Each and every morning 24/7 Wall St. reviews the top analyst upgrades and downgrades from Wall Street analysts.  Some of these move stocks in a serious way while others sometimes miss the mark.  After reviewing the top calls and those which stood out, these become the unusual analyst calls of the day.  We have tracked the move and added color on each.

Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) is one where maybe the call is being absorbed unusually well.  Adobe warned for forward quarters ahead last night and the stock was downgraded to “Market Underperform” at JMP Securities.  That is basically a “Sell” rating and the stock was down only 3.1% at $31.88 in the day after having seen a low on the day of $30.38.  Wall Street totally discounted this call.

Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) was the beneficiary of a research call today, but the call did not really get much notice.  This troubled online education and university outfit was down 0.8% at $33.82 against a 52-week range of $30.93 to $58.29.  With all of the pressure this sector is under, it was very unusual that no attention was pid to this call.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) received an upgrade today, which is off-center when you consider that summer can be bad for tech and chip stocks.  Barclays wanted in ahead of the next cycle apparently because it raised its rating to Overweight with a $15 target.  This one was up 2.6% at $11.47 on heavy volume late in the trading day.

Choice Hotels International Inc. (NYSE: CHH) saw its debt rating cut to Junk by S&P to BB+ from BBB today, and Moody’s placed its Baa2 rating on watch for a downgrade.  Meanwhile, Robert W. Baird upgraded shares to Neutral from Underperform. The news was that the company issued $400 million in debt and plans to pay out $600 million to holders in a special dividend. Despite the ratings actions, shares were up over 7% at $40.96 late in the day and the prior 52-week high had been $39.45.

LivePerson Inc. (NASDAQ: LPSN) recently hit all-time highs, so a downgrade is having a big impact.  Janney cut the rating down to Neutral from Buy after the target was achieved.  This took out over 7% from the stock and shares were at $17.46 late in the day.

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (NYSE: BIN) has been in the battered waste management sector but one research call said enough is enough.  RBC raised the rating to its Top Pick list from Outperform and that had shares up almost 3% at $19.34 late in the day.

Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) is involved in an acquisition in Europe now and its industry fight has been one that has been keeping a cloud over it.  The drop was already 3% after the deal was announced, and then came two downgrades this morning as Argus went to Hold from Buy and Macquarie went to Neutral from Outperform.  Shares were down another 3.2% late in the day at $29.14.

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JON C. OGG