Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Amgen, Coca-Cola, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Viacom, SeaWorld, NovoCure and More

December 13, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were mixed on Monday, with the Dow up and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 lower. Those same indexes were indicated higher on Tuesday, and the Dow is getting ever closer to that 20,000 hurdle for the first time. This is the day of the start of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, and a rate hike looks imminent (due 2 p.m. Wednesday).

Since the election, the stock market has risen almost daily. Investors still have a huge appetite to buy shares, and much of the selling of profitable stocks to lock in gains has been put off until 2017, based on the hope for lower taxes. Even with a bull market that is almost eight years old, investors are looking for new ideas for gains or income.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst reports each day of the week. Our goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst research reports cover stocks to buy, and others cover stocks to sell or avoid.

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

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) was started as Outperform and assigned a $166 price target at Oppenheimer. It has a consensus analyst price target of $182.21 and a 52-week trading range of $133.64 to $176.85.

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $44 price target (versus a $41.90 prior close) at Deutsche Bank. It has a 52-week range of $39.88 to $47.13 and a consensus price target of $46.54.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was reiterated as Underperform with a $110 price target at Credit Suisse. The firm notes that the expected turnaround actually may be boosted by nonoperational and nonrecurring items, where structural earnings may continue to erode. IBM was last seen trading at $165.50 and has a 52-week range of $116.90 to $166.79. That 52-week high was hit yesterday, and the consensus price target was last seen at $156.62,

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $90 price target (versus an $85.13 close) at Deutsche Bank. The 52-week range is $74.46 to $90.33, and the consensus price target is $92.00.

Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB) was downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform with a $30 price target (versus a $34.99 close) at RBC Capital Markets. It was also downgraded to Neutral after the withdrawal of the CBS merger proposal by National Amusements at Wedbush Securities. Shares closed down 9.4% at $34.99 on Monday and were indicated down 2.1% at $34.26 on Tuesday.

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) was raised to Buy at Janney, and the firm set a fair value estimate of $24 (versus an $18.57 close). The firm also set a bull case of $31 and a bear case of $15, based on improved outlook at the Orlando facility.

NovoCure Ltd. (NASDAQ: NVCR) had its research day and the firm gave new data in pancreatic and ovarian cancer that reinforces expansion potential of TTFields therapy. The stock was reiterated as Outperform with a $20 price target (versus an $8.95 close) at Wedbush.

24/7 Wall St. also released the preliminary Dogs of the Dow for 2017 for massive dividends. This list is still subject to change.

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Other key analyst upgrades and downgrades were seen as follows:

Acceleron Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: XLRN) was started as Outperform with a $44 price target at Oppenheimer.

AGCO Corp. (NYSE: AGCO) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the $61 price target was maintained (and achieved, $60.27 close) at Jefferies.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: MDRX) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight with a $10 price target (versus a $10.99 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $185 price target (versus a $174.25 close) at BMO Capital Markets.

Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ: CERN) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight with a $45 price target (versus a $48.89 close) at Morgan Stanley.

DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $69 price target (versus a $66.59 close) at Robert W. Baird.

GNC Holdings Inc. (NYSE: GNC) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight with an $11 price target (versus a $13.91 close) at Barclays.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE: JEC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, based on more balanced risk/reward.

MEDNAX Inc. (NYSE: MD) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, noting that it is difficult to see the company delivering outsized gains from here.

Medical Properties Trust (NYSE: MPW) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $101 price target (versus a $98.65 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Senior Housing Properties Trust (NYSE: SNH) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo.

Smart Sand Inc. (NASDAQ: SND) was started with a Buy rating and assigned an $18 price target (versus a $13.90 close) at Jefferies.

Team Health Holdings Inc. (NYSE: TMH) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, noting that they see little upside versus Blackstone’s takeout offer.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA) was maintained as Outperform, but the price target was cut to $31 from $33, at Wedbush. The target was cut based on likely terms of the deal for Sky in the United Kingdom.

WellCare Health Plans Inc. (NYSE: WCG) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

Oppenheimer sees 2017 and 2018 as Goldilocks years for the banks.

Merrill Lynch raised its price targets on top steel stocks.

Merrill Lynch made some changes in its RIC Report for December: Themes for 2017 are shaped by policy changes from the new political leadership and the fundamentals that have been in place; they favor cyclicals in equities over defensives including energy and financials; and it increased its allocation to small caps to overweight from underweight. They also apply defensive strategies in bonds but trimmed its allocation to TIPS.

Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included AMD, CVS Health, ConocoPhillips, EOG Resources, Seattle Genetics, WebMD and over a dozen more.