Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Facebook, First Solar, Hess, Texas Instruments, US Steel, Vertex, Infinera and More

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Stocks were indicated to open handily lower on Thursday, after a disappointing no-change stance from the Bank of Japan caused stocks to slide globally. Despite the prices on Thursday, the investors theme that has prevailed of late is the return to buying the dips. Just keep in mind that the S&P 500’s last value seen was about 17.8 times its forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, after peaking at 17.9 last week.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week to find new investing and trading ideas. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while other reports cover stocks to sell or avoid.

These are top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday morning:

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was last seen trading up 11% at $120.95 (versus a prior 52-week range of $72.00 to $117.59) after soaring mobile ad business outperformed expectations. This is even after Facebook said it will pursue a split with a new class of shares that will further consolidate the powers of Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $160 from $145 at Jefferies. Oppenheimer maintained its Outperform rating but raised its target to $140 from $130. Stifel reiterated its Buy rating but raised its target to $145 from $130. RBC reiterated its Outperform rating but raised its target to $165 from $160.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was last seen down 2% at $60.75, after earnings and news that its CEO was resigning. First Solar was reiterated as Buy at Janney, and the fair value estimates on a sum of the parts analysis was raised to $89 from $86. Oppenheimer kept its Outperform and $80 target, noting that the CEO transition is a net positive for shares. First Solar’s pre-news consensus analyst target was $77.15, and its 52-week trading range is $40.25 to $74.29.


Hess Corp.

(NYSE: HES) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse, but the firm raised its target to $65 from $60 (versus a $61.27 prior close). The consensus target price is $60.43, and the 52-week range is $32.41 to $78.87.

Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) was indicated up 1.5% at $60.78 after earnings beat expectation. It was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $69 from $62 at Jefferies. RBC maintained its Outperform rating but raised its target price to $68 from $65. Cowen kept its Market Perform rating but raised its target to $60 from $56. Oppenheimer maintained its Outperform rating and $70 target.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was indicated down 2.7% at $18.02 after disappointing earnings. The stock was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie. Cowen maintained its Market Perform rating and raised its target to $18 from $8. The consensus price target is $12.86, and the 52-week range is $6.15 to $27.09.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX) was last seen down about 3% at $82.00 or so after its cystic fibrosis drug sales disappointed and missed earnings estimates. Vertex was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs. RBC maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its target to $115 from $135. Vertex had a consensus price target of $121.15, and the 52-week range is $75.90 to $143.45.

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