Stocks were indicated lower on Friday as earnings looked mixed. So far, earnings season has gotten off to a decent start, and investors still seem willing and able to buy each pullback. This appetite for stocks is despite high valuations and a seven-and-a-half-year-old bull market. Investors are also looking for new ideas to generate gains or income ahead.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each morning. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and some feature stocks to sell or avoid.
These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Friday morning:
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was reiterated as Buy with a $48 price target (versus a $39.38 prior close) at Jefferies. The firm sees a Time Warner merger as unlikely. Wedbush Securities reiterated its Neutral rating on Time Warner but said its view of a merger is low. AT&T has a 52-week trading range of $32.22 to $43.89 and a consensus analyst price target of $42.61.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) had its investor day on Thursday. Merrill Lynch raised its rating to Neutral from Underperform with a $10 price objective, and Nomura raised its rating to Neutral from Reduce. The 52-week range is $1.50 to $8.15, and the consensus price target is $6.50.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) was maintained as Hold at Jefferies, but the price target was cut to $61 from $76 (versus a $58.58 close). It has a 52-week range of $43.14 to $81.81 and consensus price target of $70.66.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was hitting new all-time highs and up 5.85% at $60.60 on Friday after earnings beat expectations. The stock was raised to Outperform from Market Perform by William Blair. Jefferies maintained its Underperform rating but raised its target to $43 from $40. The previous 52-week range is $48.04 to $58.70, and the consensus price target of $59.79.
PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) was reiterated as Buy with a $48 price target (versus a $40.24 close) at Jefferies. Stifel raised it to Buy from Hold. Wedbush reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its price target to $54 from $50. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target price to $47 from $43. PayPal has a 52-week range of $30.52 to $41.75 and consensus price target of $44.94.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $73 price target (versus a $68.73 close) at Piper Jaffray. The 52-week range is $67.07 to $73.19. The consensus price target is $74.92.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies. What is interesting here is that there is still upside called for with a price target of $48, and the firm sees an upside to $66 and a downside to $30. Yahoo has a 52-week range of $26.15 to $44.92 and a consensus price target of $45.28.
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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows: