Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: American Airlines, Dollar General, Ecolab, Nike, Southern Copper and More

Stocks were looking for direction ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday. Still, the market volatility has dried up and the major equity indexes like the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all very close to all-time highs. Despite a bull market that is seven and a half years old and despite high valuations, investors keep finding more reasons to buy stocks. Those same investors are now often looking for new ideas on how to make income or gains from the market as well.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst upgrades and downgrades each day. Also in the mix are many new coverage initiations, as well as ratings being reiterated with price target changes. Some reports cover stocks to buy, and others cover stocks to sell or avoid.

These are this Friday’s top analyst calls from Wall Street.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) was started with an In-Line rating and assigned a price target of $40 (versus a $36.72 prior close) at Imperial Capital. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $41.00 and a 52-week trading range of $24.85 to $47.09.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform and the price target was lowered handily to $78 from $95 (versus a $75.61 close) at BMO Capital Markets. It has a consensus price target of $97.14 and a 52-week range of $59.75 to $96.88. Dollar General’s post-earnings drop on Thursday was by a whopping 17.6%, so there has been at least a temporary fundamental shift in how to view this stock to own for a decade.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE: ECL) was started as Outperform at Macquarie. Shares closed at $122.80, with a consensus analyst target of $126.00 and a 52-week range of $98.62 to $123.44.

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley. Its shares closed down 1.6% at $59.24 on Thursday and were indicated down 1% at $58.66 on Friday. The consensus price target is $65.79, and the 52-week range is $51.48 to $68.19.

Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE: SCCO) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $31.50 price target (versus a $26.01 close) at HSBC. The consensus price target is $28.62, and the 52-week range of $21.55 to $31.31.

Other key analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations were seen in the following:

  • 8X8 Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT) was started with a Neutral rating at Robert W. Baird.
  • Heico Corp. (NYSE: HEI) was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets.
  • ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE: MAN) was initiated with an Outperform rating at Macquarie.
  • W.W. Grainger Inc. (NYSE: GWW) was started with an Outperform rating at Macquarie as well.
  • Holly Energy Partners L.P. (NYSE: HEP) was started with a Neutral rating at Goldman Sachs.
  • RingCentral Inc. (NYSE: RNG) was started as Neutral and was given a $24 target price at Robert W. Baird.
  • Rockwell Collins Inc. (NYSE: COL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus.
  • Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel.
  • USG Corp. (NYSE: USG) was started as Neutral at Citigroup.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included DDR, HP, L-3 Communications,, Teva Pharmaceutical, Twilio and many more.

You can follow @Jonogg on Twitter if you want the daily analyst calls and research updates directly on your Twitter feed.

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