Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher despite lower oil and despite a big loss in China’s stock markets. There is still a fight over the stance of selling into rallies and buying the dips. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst reports each day to find new investing and trading ideas for its readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, and other calls cover stocks to sell or to avoid.
These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday, February 25, 2016.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) was maintained as Outperform at Credit Suisse, but the price target was trimmed to $18 from $20 (versus a $12.13 prior close). The firm lowered 2016 and 2017 EPS estimates to $1.35 and $1.55, respectively. They introduced a 2018 estimate of $1.70 per share, based on lower Federal Reserve rate hikes and the cost of the weaker capital markets.
Encana Corp. (NYSE: ECA) was already rated as Buy at Jefferies, but now the firm has added it to its Franchise Picks list and it has an $8 price target. Encana closed at $3.68 and was called a well-funded outfit with high-quality assets trading at a sharp discount to its $8 value. RBC has a Sector Perform rating but raised its target to $8 from $7.
Energy Transfer Partners L.P. (NYSE: ETP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price objective was cut to $28 from $30 (versus a $29.72 close) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The firm is worried that Energy Transfer Equity may need to help on Energy Transfer Partners cash distribution sustainability after its EBITDA was almost 10% shy of the firm’s estimate, and they see a higher probability of a cash distribution cut at Energy Transfer Partners.
Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. (NYSE: RH) was up 1.3% at $51.92 before earnings guidance, but shares were last seen down 23% at $40.00 or so versus a pre-news analyst target of $95.56. Restoration Hardware was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at Keybanc Capital Markets. R.W. Baird downgraded it to Neutral from Outperform with a $52 target.
Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) closed down 0.6% at $62.52 before earnings but was up over 9% at $68.50 afterward. It was reiterated as Hold at Jefferies, but the firm raised its target to $60 from $54. FBR has an Outperform rating but lowered its price target to $82 from $88. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and $100 price target.
Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) was maintained as Underperform at Credit Suisse, but the firm cut its price target to $5 from $10 (versus an $8.20 close). Their take is that things are not getting any easier. Transocean has a consensus analyst target of $9.28 and a 52-week trading range of $7.67 to $21.90.
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Other key analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday included the following:
- Bankrate Inc. (NYSE: RATE) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $9 price target (versus a $12.68 close) at Topeka Capital Markets.
- Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) was maintained as Sector Perform at RC Capital Markets, but the price target was cut to $4 from $5.
- Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: CTB) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.
- DENTSPLY International Inc. (NASDAQ: XRAY) was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $60 price target at UBS.
- Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ: EXAS) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital.
- Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $2.85 close (versus a $31.8 close) at UBS.
- La Quinta Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LQ) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel.
- Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: MLNX) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $67 price target (versus a $49.49 close) at JPMorgan.
- PowerSecure International Inc. (NYSE: POWR) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord Genuity.
- Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (NYSE: BIN) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.
If you missed Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included First Solar, Ford, Frontier Communications, JPMorgan, Macy’s, Yamana Gold and a dozen or so more.