Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Abercrombie, Apple, Best Buy, Cisco Systems, Procter & Gamble, Synchrony Financial, US Steel and More

June 15, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated higher for the first time this week, just hours before the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision on interest rates. Investors have shown that they are more than willing to buy stocks during each pullback. Still, last week the S&P 500 peaked at a valuation of 18 times expected 2016 earnings per share.

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 analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while other reports feature stocks to sell or avoid.

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

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) was raised to Hold from Sell with a $20 price target (versus an $18.62 prior close) at Deutsche Bank. It has a consensus analyst price target of $23.72 and a 52-week trading range of $15.42 to $32.83.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated as Buy with a $135 price target (versus a $97.46 close) at Argus after the WWDC. Argus said that the current capital return and ongoing work in new areas lead it to believe that Apple’s positives are not fully reflected in the share price, noting that it is attractive on a price-based and free cash flow valuation analysis. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating and $150 price target, factoring in a muted iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 super cycle. Apple has a consensus analyst target of $124.93 and a 52-week range of $89.47 to $132.97.

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Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse, and the firm lowered its price target to $31.00 from $36.50. The stock closed at $29.17, and it has a consensus price target of $33.52 and a 52-week range of $25.31 to $39.10.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs. Shares closed at $28.96 and have a consensus price target of $30.86. The 52-week range is $22.46 to $29.49.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was started with a Buy rating and was assigned a $95 price target (versus an $83.35 close) at Jefferies. The firm expects the slimmed down portfolio of consumer goods to start generating 3.5% organic sales growth ahead. The consensus analyst target is $84.79, while the 52-week range is $65.02 to $83.87.

Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF) fell 13% to $26.45 on Tuesday after warning about credit card operations. The stock was maintained as Buy at Jefferies, but the firm cut its price target to $35 from $42 (versus a $30.44 close). Merrill Lynch maintained its Neutral rating but lowered its price objective to $28.50. The consensus price target is $37.50, and the 52-week range is $23.74 to $36.40.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was raised to Neutral from Underperform and the price objective was raised to $18 from $10 (versus a $16.34 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm sees more stable earnings ahead on higher sheet metal prices. The consensus price target is $15.14. The 52-week range is $6.15 to $23.78.

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

Amsurg Corp. (NASDAQ: AMSG) was started as Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

Berry Plastics Group Inc. (NYSE: BERY) was started as Overweight and was assigned a $45 price target (versus a $37.00 close) at Barclays.

Colliers International Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CIGI) was started with an Outperform rating and was assigned a $52 price target (versus a $35.56 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE: DNR) was raised to Hold from Sell at Stifel.

Genesis Energy L.P. (NYSE: GEL) was reiterated as Buy at Janney, and the firm raised its fair value estimate to $44 from $32.

Hi-Crush Partners L.P. (NYSE: HCLP) was raised to Strong Buy from Market Perform with a $17 price target (versus an $11.93 close) at Raymond James.

Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INFI) saw its shared drop 69% to $1.36 on Tuesday after a poor drug test and after cutting 21% of its workforce. The stock was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo. JMP Securities lowered its rating to Market Perform from Market Outperform. Other downgrades were seen on Tuesday.

Luxottica Group SpA (NYSE: LUX) was started as Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Marketo Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTO) was downgraded to Market Perform from Market Outperform at JMP Securities.

Mattress Firm Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: MFRM) was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at Keybanc Capital Markets.

Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $128 from $111 (versus a $106.75 close) at Argus, with the firm noting that a Bayer buyout is still possible.

SCANA Corp. (NYSE: SCG) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Tesoro Corp. (NYSE: TSO) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: UPL) was raised to Hold from Sell at Stifel.

United Therapeutics Corp. (NASDAQ: UTHR) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was cut to $95 from $175 (versus a $107.26 close) at H.C. Wainwright.

Merrill Lynch has four stocks with Buy ratings that yield 7% to 9%.

Tuesday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades included Alaska Air, Altria, GoDaddy, GoPro, LinkedIn, Navistar and over a dozen more.