The stock market may have recently hit new highs, but stocks were indicated lower again on Friday. Earnings are being dominated by new-economy giants and held back by many of the old behemoths. Despite stocks not being cheap (S&P 500 is trading at 17.8 times forward earnings) investors have chosen to keeping buying stocks on every pullback.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning of the week. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for its 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 Friday morning:
Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) was indicated to open up over 4% at $798.50 after beating earnings expectations, with excitement around more mobile ads, search dominance and YouTube. Its 52-week trading range is $593.09 to $810.35. Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $1,000 from $925. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating and raised its price objective from $925 to $960. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $940 from $920.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was up 2% to $752.61 before earnings and was indicated up 2.3% at $769.99 after earnings and revenues beat expectations, even if earnings guidance looks light. AWS and Amazon Prime are leading the growth. Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $950 from $865. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating and raised its price objective from $840 to $860, and Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $920 from $880. The 52-week range is $451.00 to $757.34.
Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $60 target price (versus a $53.67 prior close) at JPMorgan. It has a 52-week range of $35.11 to $57.10 and a consensus analyst price target of $59.38. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating and $62 price objective. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $61 from $57.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) had its worst post-earnings day in years by falling 8.16% to $12.71 on Thursday. Goldman Sachs downgraded Ford to Neutral from Buy and the price target was cut to $13 from $15 (versus a $12.71 close). Merrill Lynch maintained its Neutral rating but lowered its price objective to $14 from $15. Ford’s 52-week range is $10.44 to $15.84, and its consensus target price is $14.40. Does it help if its dividend yield is close to 4.3%?
Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) has not found many friends after this week’s earnings, falling from over $88 down to roughly $81. Now independent research firm Argus has thrown in the towel, downgrading it to Hold from Buy. Shares closed at $81.24, have a 52-week range of $77.92 to $120.37 and have a consensus price target that still feels artificially high at $106.35.
Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) lowered its shipment forecasts with earnings, but shares closed up almost 1% at $51.01. It was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform with a $43 target price at RBC Capital Markets. Wells Fargo also downgraded the motorcycle giant to Market Perform from Outperform. Harley-Davidson has a 52-week range of $36.36 to $60.67 and a $51.09 consensus price target.
Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) was lower after earnings showed higher expenses for its SanDisk acquisition, but the 6% initial drop was looking more like a 4% drop to $51.53 on Friday. Robert W. Baird thinks the worst may be behind Western Digital, raising its rating to Outperform from Neutral, and the price target was raised to $65 from $50. The 52-week range is $34.99 to $86.80.
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Other key analyst upgrades and downgraded were seen as follows: