Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AMD, BP, Cavium, Checkpoint Software, Jabil, Kansas City Southern, Yahoo and More

June 16, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks have now fallen for five straight sessions and were indicated lower on Thursday as well. Despite opening higher ahead of Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision on interest rates, the real issue is that the lowered expectations and the wider scope of Fed worries is leaving the markets with the notion that Fed has its eye on too many things. Then there is the notion that maybe even getting fed funds back up to 3% or so might be pure fiction and hope rather than reality.

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.

The markets may have been weak of late, but the trend that has remained is that investors have shown that they are more than willing to buy stocks during each and every real stock market correction. Last week the S&P 500 peaked at a valuation of 18 times expected 2016 earnings per share.

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

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was raised to Buy from Hold and was given a $6 price target (versus a $4.42 prior close) at Canaccord Genuity. It has a consensus analyst price target of $3.68 and a 52-week trading range of $1.61 to $4.71.

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BP PLC (NYSE: BP) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup. Shares closed at $31.15 in New York trading on Wednesday, but BP was trading up almost 0.5% on Thursday in London trading. BP’s American depositary shares have a consensus price target of $39.00 and a 52-week range of $30.07 to $41.78.

Cavium Inc. (NASDAQ: CAVM) is buying QLogic for $1.4 billion, versus a pre-news market cap of $2.75 billion. Cavium shares were indicated down 14% at $41.20 on Thursday. Cavium was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $48 from $61 at Canaccord Genuity. Merrill lynch maintained a Neutral rating, noting that the deal adds defensive accretive earnings while diluting its growth. Pacific Crest cut its rating to Sector Weight, and Oppenheimer lowered its rating to Perform.

Checkpoint Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $90 from $95 (versus an $84.28 close) at Deutsche Bank. The consensus price target is $86.91, and has the 52-week range is $65.09 to $89.98.

Jabil Circuit Inc. (NYSE: JBL) was last seen down almost 3% at $18.20 after cutting its outlook with earnings due to a weakness in its mobility sales. Needham has a Buy rating and cut its target price to $23 from $25; Goldman Sachs has a Sell rating and cut its target price to $16 from $17; and UBS has a Buy rating and cut its target price to $20 from $22. The consensus price target is $21.60, and the 52-week range is $16.78 to $26.00.

Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $103 price target (versus an $87.32 close) at Oppenheimer. The stock has a consensus analyst target of $97.76 and a 52-week range of $62.20 to $101.24.

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup. Shares closed at $37.32, and the web property has a consensus price target of $40.79 and a 52-week range of $26.15 to $41.39.

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

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $34.75 price target (versus a $26.86 close) at B. Riley.

Amsurg Corp. (NASDAQ: AMSG) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $104 price objective (versus a $77.50 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Antero Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: AM) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $29 price target (versus a $24.55 close) at Stifel.

Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM) was raised to Hold from Underweight at BB&T Capital Markets.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (NYSE: CNQ) was raised from already being an Outperform to the firm’s Top Pick list at RBC Capital Markets.

CommScope Holding Co. (NASDAQ: COMM) was started with a Buy rating and given a $40 price target (versus a $31.66 close) at CLSA.

Embraer S.A. (NYSE: ERJ) was raised to Buy from Neutral on valuation at Merrill Lynch.

Government Properties Income Trust (NYSE: GOV) was started with an Outperform rating and was given a $25 price target (versus a $19.96 close) at FBR Capital Markets.

Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HRC) was raised to overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley, and the price target was raised to $62 from $54 (versus a $48.91 close) at Morgan Stanley.

WisdomTree Investments Inc. (NASDAQ: WETF) was reiterated as Buy with a $13 price target (versus a $10.30 close) at Jefferies. The firm says that WisdomTree’s likelihood of being acquired is nudged higher as sector growth headwinds persist.

Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) was raised to Overweight from Neutral and the price target was raised to $47 from $39 (versus a $42.34 close) at JPMorgan.

Oppenheimer may have been positive on Kansas City Southern, but the other rail giants like Union Pacific, CSX and Norfolk Southern were started with Perform ratings.

Our own view on the FOMC decision is more complicated than just a mere kicking the can down the road. Also, here is why analysts remained so positive on Apple after WWDC.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls were in Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Best Buy, Cisco Systems, Procter & Gamble, Synchrony Financial, U.S. Steel and over a dozen more.