Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Callon Petroleum, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lululemon, Nike, Rio Tinto and More

September 8, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were looking for direction on Thursday, and we are now over 50 days without a 1% move in either direction, despite being close to all-time highs. One thing that has held true is that investors want to buy stocks after every market sell-off and they are still opportunistic. Investors are also looking for new ideas to generate income or gains ahead.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning in an effort to find new investing and trading ideas. Some of these analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and some reports feature stocks to sell or avoid.

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

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) saw a small 0.6% gain to $108.36 after debuting its iPhone refresh. Wells Fargo was not so impressed, downgrading the stock to Market Perform from Outperform. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating and $120 price objective, noting that the new iPhones and Apple Watch were mostly as expected. Apple has a 52-week trading range of $89.47 to $123.82 and a consensus analyst price target of $123.66.

Callon Petroleum Co. (NYSE: CPE) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform and the price target was raised to $18 from $15 (versus a $15.46 close) at RBC Capital Markets. It has a 52-week range of $4.21 to $15.68 and a consensus price target of $16.77.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE: HPE) may have had a low-quality earnings report with light revenues and a small beat on earnings, but the spin-out of most of the software business was shown by Jefferies to be leaving a compelling valuation and the firm raised its price target to $27.00 from $24.25. The stock was reiterated as Buy at Needham, and the price target was raised to $24 from $22. Wells Fargo downgraded it to Market Perform from Outperform. Shares closed at $22.09 and have a consensus price target of $21.56.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) was downgraded to Hold at Jefferies, and the price target was cut to $76 from $80 (versus a $68.23 close). The firm noted that Lululemon still has ample opportunities to grow sales and margins, but it believes this is now largely factored into the stock and thinks the athleisure trend is starting to peak. Lululemon has a 52-week range of $43.14 to $81.81 and a consensus price target of $72.11.

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $58 price target (versus a $57.72 close) at Piper Jaffray. The 52-week range is $51.48 to $68.19, and the consensus price target is $65.79.

Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets. The stock closed at $31.04, and it has a 52-week range of $21.89 to $40.05 with a consensus price target of $35.60.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows:

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $73 price target (versus a $64.97 close) at JPMorgan.

Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ: CERN) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen.

Copa Holdings S.A. (NYSE: CPA) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Fortive Corp. (NYSE: FTV) was started with a Hold rating at Argus.

Gol Linghas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (NYSE: GOL) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE: JCI) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $55 price target (versus a $47.22 close) at Macquarie.

Monogram Residential Trust Inc. (NYSE: MORE) was started with a Buy rating, and the fair value estimate was set at $11.50 (versus a $10.59 close), at Janney.

Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR) was last seen trading down 14.6% at $4.10 after missing earnings and as its CEO was stepping down. Pier 1 was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer. Raymond James downgraded its rating to Market Perform from Buy, and Credit Suisse downgraded it to Underperform from Neutral.

Sanofi S.A. (NYSE: SNY) was raised to Buy from Hold at Berenberg.

Spectra Energy Corp. (NYSE: SE) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $42 price target (versus a $41.92 close) at Goldman Sachs. Most analysts are positive on the Spectra-Enbridge merger.

Tractor Supply Co. (NASDAQ: TSCO) lowered guidance and shares were indicated down almost 14% from its $83.53 closing price. The stock was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $72 price target (versus an $83.53 close) at Piper Jaffray. Raymond James downgraded its rating to Market Perform from Buy, and Credit Suisse lowered its rating to Neutral from Outperform.

VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) was resumed with a Hold rating at Needham.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Barrick Gold, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, PNC Financial, Tonix Pharma, Spirit Realty and over a dozen more.