Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: 3D Systems, Apple, Applied Materials, Chipotle, CSX, PepsiCo, Red Hat and More


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:
Arc Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: ARCX) was started as Neutral with a fair value estimate of $11 (versus a $10.37 close) at Janney.

Adesto Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: IOTS) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer, after the near-term outlook was short of expectations.

Aircastle Ltd. (NYSE: AYR) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo, but the valuation range went to $23 to $24 from $19 to $20 (versus a $22.74 close). The firm said that it has a sound growth strategy but has better relative value elsewhere.

Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $58 price target (versus a $42.34 close) at Piper Jaffray.

Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) was started with a Hold rating and was assigned a price target of $30 (versus a $29.79 close) at Evercore ISI.

Graco Inc. (NYSE: GGG) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a price target of $85 (versus an $85.68 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Insys Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: INSY) was started as Buy with a $22 fair value estimate (versus a $13.61 close) at Janney. The firm noted that Insys’s deep pipeline overcomes Subsys declines.

Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR) was reiterated as Underperform at Merrill Lynch. The firm lowered its price target to $3.60 as it said the recent rally is overdone based up Pier 1’s challenges.

Restoration Hardware Holding Inc. (NYSE: RH) was started as Perform at Oppenheimer, so no price target was issued. Oppenheimer said near-term risks remain, but long term there is potential.

ServiceNow Inc. (NYSE: NOW) was started with a Buy rating and a target price of $86 (versus a $63.77 close) at Argus. It was called a fairly valued stock after an early 2016 sell-off that should aggressively add customers and upsell current clients with additional services.

Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) was started with a Sell rating and was assigned a price target of $14 (versus an $18.16 close) at Evercore ISI.

Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Clovis, CSC, Norfolk Southern, Sprint, Square, Western Digital and over a dozen more.

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