Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apache, Baker Hughes, Intercept Pharmaceutical, Rite Aid, Synchrony Financial, US Steel and More

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Well the volatility is back, at least for now, and Thursday’s big loss is starting to remind investors how the first six weeks of the 2016 trading year went. The good thing is the futures were looking up nicely Friday morning, while the European bourses are all up at midday there. With a huge earnings week coming next week, investors may play it safe going into the weekend.

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

These are this Friday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations.

Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) was upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo. The Thomson/First Call consensus price objective for the stock is $47.23. The 52-week trading range is $32.30 to $71.87. The shares closed on Thursday at $49.19.

Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) was downgraded to Underperform from Buy at Jefferies. The consensus price target is $53.85. The shares closed Thursday at $41.93, within a 52 week trading range of $37.58 to $70.45.


Dolby Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: DLB) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan. Shares have traded in a 52-week range of $29.87 to $44.97. The stock closed on Thursday at $44.60.

DuPont Fabros Technology Inc. (NYSE: DFT) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney. The 52-week range for the stock is $24.88 to $42.10. The consensus price target is $39.50. The shares closed Thursday at $41.74.

Intercept Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: ICPT) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. The 52-week range is $89.76 to $314.88, and the stock closed most recently at $163.83, up over 8% on the day. Shares were trading up big early in Friday’s premarket.

Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) was upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. The 52-week trading range is $$61.78 to $98.26. The consensus price target is posted at $81.31, and shares closed most recently at $64.41.

Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank. The consensus price target is $9, and the stock closed at $8.09. The 52-week range is $5.88 to $9.47.

Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch. The consensus price objective is $37.05. The shares closed Thursday at $27.97, within a 52-week range of $23.74 to $36.40.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at UBS. The consensus price target is posted at $10.72, and shares closed much higher at $16.01. The 52-week range is $6.15 to $27.58.

Virgin America Inc. (NYSE: VA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank. The company received a buyout offer this week from Alaska Airlines Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK). The consensus price target is $53.22. The shares closed at $55.45, right at the top of the 52-week trading range of $26.30 to $55.55.

WestRock Co. (NYSE: WRK) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo. The consensus price target is a stunning $70.56, while the 52-week trading range is $29.73 to $66.40. The stock closed Thursday at $37.00.

Other key analysts upgrades and downgrades were seen in the following:

  • Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch.
  • Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) was upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
  • Boot Barn Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BOOT) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.
  • Boston Beer Co. Inc. (NYSE: SAM) was upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.
  • Eldorado Gold Inc. (NYSE: EGO) was upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.
  • PBF Energy Inc. (NYSE: PBF) was started at Overweight at JPMorgan.
  • Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) was started at a Buy at Miller Tabak with a $115 price target. The consensus price target is $105.22.

If you missed Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades, they included Apple, Coach, EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Pfizer, Verizon and more.