Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Applied Materials, Best Buy, Nokia, CSC, HPE, Monsanto, Noble Energy, Western Digital and More

May 25, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

bull and bear
Source: courtesy of Jon Ogg
Stocks were indicated higher on Wednesday morning, after a strong housing number took the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 213 points to 17,706 on Tuesday. Even with the notion of “sell in May and go away,” investors have proven that they are looking for opportunities and will buy the big market dips.

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

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

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was raised to Buy from Hold at Citigroup. Shares closed at $23.49 after being one of five tech stocks that keep rising after earnings. Applied Materials has a consensus analyst price target of $25.48 and a 52-week range of $14.25 to $23.49 (the high was hit on Tuesday).

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $32 from $38 (after falling 7.5% to $30.54) at Deutsche Bank. The consensus price target is $33.78, and the 52-week range is $25.31 to $39.10.


Computer Sciences Corp.

(NYSE: CSC) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. Shares were last seen up 30% at $46.45 after news of the HPE combination, versus a consensus target of $33.64 before the news. The 52-week range is $24.27 to $36.02.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE: HPE) was surging on news of a tax-free spin-off and combination with CSC after earnings. Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and raised its price target to $24.00 from $19.25. Needham raised its rating to Buy from Hold with a $22 price target.

Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) was reiterated as Buy at Jefferies but the buyout offer caused the firm to raise its price target to $132 from $95 (after rising 3.1% to $109.30 on Tuesday’s close) based on a higher expected offering price. Monsanto rose another 2% on this call to $111.90, with a consensus target price of $98.44 and a 52-week range of $81.22 to $120.00.

Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $47 price target (versus a $35.33 prior close) at Sterne Agee CRT. The consensus price target is $41.56. The 52-week range is $23.77 to $46.93.

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) was raised to Outperform from Underperform at CLSA. The stock closed up 2.7% at $5.36 the prior day, and it has a consensus analyst target of $6.81 and a 52-week range of $5.08 to $7.63.

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays. This is just a day after Western Digital was maintained as Buy at Jefferies (target cut to $50 from $56) and after Cowen & Co. raised its rating to Outperform from Market Perform with a $50 price target.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen in following:

Depomed Inc. (NASDAQ: DEPO) was reiterated as Buy at Janney with a fair value estimate of $28 (versus a $20.13 close). The firm said that Depomed has not raised prices since December 2015, so it expects that price increases are on the horizon.

Energizer Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ENR) was reiterated as Hold but the price target was raised to $50 from $45 (versus a $47.22 close) at Jefferies.

Greif Inc. (NYSE: GEF) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $36 price target (versus a $36.04 close) at BMO Capital Markets.

Instructure Inc. (NYSE: INST) was reiterated as Outperform with a $27 price target (versus a $16.99 close) at Oppenheimer.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS) was maintained as Neutral but the price target was cut to $49 from $57 (versus a $41.56 close) at Credit Suisse. This call was ahead of earnings, expecting soft watch and handbag data likely adding risk to its results.

Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: TYPE) was started with a Buy rating and was assigned a $29 price target (versus a $23.51 close) at Ladenburg Thalmann.

Open Text Corp. (NASDAQ: OTEX) was raised to Sector Outperform from Sector Perform at CIBC World Markets.


Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (NYSE: PPC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&T Capital Markets.

Sterling Construction Co. Inc. (NASDAQ: STRL) was maintained as Buy at Maxim Group, but its target price was cut to $6 from $8 (versus a $4.52 close).

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) was maintained as Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets, but the price target was adjusted higher to $242 from $252 (versus a $217.91 close).

Universal Display Corp. (NASDAQ: OLED) was reiterated as Buy at Needham, but the price target was raised to $69 from $62 (versus a $64.39 close).

ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) was reiterated as Sell at Wunderlich, but the firm raised its target price to $50 from $48 (versus a $68.26 close).

Workday Inc. (NYSE: WDAY) was reiterated as Buy at Needham, but the price target was raised to $85 from $80 (versus a $78.16 close).

Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ZBH) was raised to Buy from Hold with target of $140 at Argus.

Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included ADM, General Mills, Home Depot, Microsoft, 3D Systems, Western Digital and over a dozen more companies.