Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AK Steel, Alphabet, Royal Dutch Shell, Sunoco Logistics, Terex, Verifone, Williams and More

June 8, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated to open higher yet again on Wednesday. Investors have proven over and over that they will buy the stock market on dips and buy after bad news. That being said, S&P is showing that, from a valuation perspective, the S&P 500 is trading at a premium of 17.9 times its forward 12-month price-to-earnings ratio.

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

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

AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) was raised to Outperform from Underperform with a $7 price target (versus a $4.58 prior close) at Credit Suisse. It has a consensus analyst price target of $4.18 and a 52-week trading range of $1.64 to $5.24.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), you know the company we still call Google, was reiterated as Buy at Merrill Lynch. The $925 price objective came with a raised earnings estimate, as YouTube revenues are expected to cross $10 billion in 2016. Shares closed most recently at $731.09. The consensus target is about $911, and the 52-week range is $538.85 to $810.35.

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Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $64 price target (versus a $51.61 close) at Evercore ISI. The stock has a 52-week range of $35.80 to $59.98.

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies with a $31 price target (versus a $29.43 close). The consensus price target is $32.88, and the 52-week range is $15.43 to $39.23.

Terex Corp. (NYSE: TEX) was started with a Buy rating and was assigned a $27 price target (versus a $21.29 close) at Goldman Sachs. It has a consensus target price of $23.59 and a 52-week range of $13.62 to $27.11.

Verifone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) reported a modest revenue beat for its second quarter, but it had a significant EPS miss. JPMorgan downgraded it to Neutral from Overweight and the target was slashed to $24 from $34. Jefferies maintained a Buy rating and kept its $40 price target. Shares closed at $28.23, but they were indicated down 28% Wednesday at $20.35. The consensus price target was $36.32, and the 52-week range is $20.14 to $37.06.

Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) was reiterated as Buy at Merrill Lynch, but the price objective was raised to $37 from $28 (versus a $34.93 close). The firm said the 2016 capital plan appears fair, but focus remains on execution. Williams Partners still screens as having close to a 10% yield-equivalent.

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

Aerohive Networks Inc. (NYSE: HIVE) was started with a Buy rating and an $8 price target (versus a $6.18 close) at Wunderlich.

AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE: AVB) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was lowered from $205 to $188 at Jefferies.

DCP Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: DPM) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, but the price target was raised to $35 from $32 in the call.

EnLink Midstream LLC (NYSE: ENLC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, but the price target was raised from $13 to $15.

Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $66 from $79 at Jefferies.

Manitowoc Foodservice Inc. (NYSE: MFS) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at R.W. Baird.

Matador Resources Co. (NYSE: MTDR) was started with a Buy rating and was given a $29 price target (versus a $24.22 close) at Sterne Agee CRT.

Mesa Laboratories Inc. (NASDAQ: MLAB) was reiterated as Buy and the fair value estimate was raised to $165 from $106 (versus a $128.49 close) at Janney.

Netgear Inc. (NASDAQ: NTGR) was started with a Buy rating and was given a $55 price target (versus a $45.81 close) at Wunderlich.

Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Merrill Lynch.

Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD) was reiterated as Outperform with a $33 price target (versus a $25.53 close) at Credit Suisse.

Sunoco L.P. (NYSE: SUN) was downgraded to Underperform and the price target was cut to $23 from $35 at Jefferies.

Targa Resources Corp. (NYSE: TRGP) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, but the price target was raised to $45 from $34.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was reiterated as Outperform with a $26 price target (versus a $15.93 close) at Credit Suisse.

Zebra Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: ZBRA) was started with a Neutral rating and was given a price target of $55 (versus a $56.22 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades were in shares of First Data, General Electric, Sarepta Therapeutics, Western Digital, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Zillow and over a dozen more.