Stocks hit 2016 highs on Wednesday, and Thursday’s session is looking for direction, with futures fighting over being slightly positive and slightly down. It seems that investors have decided to revert back to the trend of the prior four years of buying pullbacks.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell or avoid.
These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday morning:
3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) was raised to Buy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, all the way up from Underperform. The firm raised its price objective by over 100% — to $26 from $11 — noting that the CEO announcement was a much needed catalyst to drive 3D’s turnaround through new strategy, alignment of cost structure and portfolio optimization. 3D Systems has a consensus analyst price target of $12.27 and a 52-week trading range of $6.00 to $32.88.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was maintained as Buy with a $120 price target at UBS, but the firm noted many existential threats, like Facebook’s messenger bots, smartphone upgrade fatigue and migration/churn, and roadblocks for new phones in China. Apple has a consensus price target of $133.92 and a 52-week range of $92.00 to $134.54.
Applied Materials Inc.
(NASDAQ: AMAT) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a price target of $26 (versus a $21.31 prior close) at UBS. The consensus price target is $22.55, and the 52-week range is $14.25 to $22.67.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $510 price target (versus a $444.66 close) at JPMorgan. The consensus analyst price target is $477, and the 52-week range is $399.14 to $758.61.
CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) was reiterated as Buy and the target price was raised to $30 from $28 (versus a $26.03 close) at Argus. The firm said that CSX management is focused on shareholder returns by increasing the dividend and buying back stock, and the current 2.9% dividend yield pays investors to wait. CSX has a $27.26 consensus price target, and its 52-week range is $21.33 to $37.67.
PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel. Shares closed most recently at $104.12. The beverage and snack-foods maker has a consensus price target of $107.62 and a 52-week range of $76.48 to $105.77.
Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) was raised to Overweight from Sector Weight with a price target of $88 (versus a $74.05 close) at Pacific Crest. It has a consensus price target of $88.17 and a 52-week range of $59.59 to $84.44.
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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen on Thursday in the following:
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