Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Alcoa, Aetna, Barracuda, GoPro, Pulte, United Tech and Many More

January 8, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks actually were stabilizing on Friday on the heels of the worst four-day start for the markets in our lifetime. China stabilized, at least for a day, and we saw a stronger than expected payrolls report. The one trend that prevailed for more than four years was that investors bought every market pullback.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning to find new investing and trading ideas for its readers. Some of the daily analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell or avoid.

These are the top analyst calls for Friday, January 8, 2016.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is getting more of those price target cuts that readers were warned about last month. Cowen has a Market Perform rating but cut its target to $125 from $130. Canaccord Genuity has a Buy rating but cut its target price down to $146 from $160.

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie, now that shares have gone so low. After closing at $8.27, Alcoa has a consensus analyst target price of $11.38 and a 52-week trading range of $7.81 to $17.10.

Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, and the firm’s price target was lowered from $135.00 to $122.00 in the call, with lower earnings estimates as well.


Barracuda Networks Inc.

(NYSE: CUDA) was last seen down over 25% at $12.00 after a poor earnings report. The downgrade brigade was massive: JMP cut to Market Perform; Stifel kept at Buy but lowered its target; Pac-Crest cut to Sector Weight; William Blair cut to Market Perform; BTIG cut to Neutral. The consensus price target was $28.60 before the news, and the 52-week range is $14.77 to $46.78.

GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO) was maintained as Overweight at Barclays, but the firm slashed its price target to $25.00 from $40.00. GoPro closed at $17.00 on Thursday, has a $32.24 consensus price target and has a 52-week range of $15.90 to $65.49.

PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $19.00 price target at Raymond James. The stock closed down 4% at $16.22 on Thursday. It has a consensus price target of $21.21 and a 52-week range of $16.17 to $23.36.

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Bernstein, and the firm cut its price target to $104 from $116. This is on sluggish growth and an elusive turnaround. Jefferies kept its Buy rating but lowered its target price to $135 from $142. UTC was just given a 2016 bullish and bearish outlook against 3M and GE this week.

Other key analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Friday were for the following:

ADTRAN Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTN) was raised to Buy from Hold at Stifel, and the firm’s price target is $21.00 (versus a $16.71 prior close).

AngioDynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: ANGO) was maintained as Buy but the price target was cut to $14.50 from $17.50 at Canaccord Genuity, saying that its recovery will take time.

Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE: BNS) was raised to Buy from Hold at Desjardins.

Boston Beer Co. (NYSE: SAM) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $210 from $261 at Jefferies.

Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) was raised to Buy from Hold at Stifel.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.

Container Store Group Inc. (NYSE: TCS) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan after a poor earnings report.


Community Health Systems Inc. (NYSE: CYH) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Wedbush Securities.

D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.

Keysight Technologies Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at R.W. Baird.

Quidel Corp. (NASDAQ: QDEL) preannounced a fourth-quarter shortfall, and Canaccord Genuity maintained its Buy rating but lowered the price target to $22 from $25.

Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPB) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $134.00 from $110.00 at Jefferies.

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. (NYSE: SHO) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.

In case you missed Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included of Newmont Mining, Noble Energy, Paychex, Pioneer Natural Resources, Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo and over a dozen more companies.