Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Amex, Goldman Sachs, Illumina, PayPal, Trivago, Williams Companies and More

Stocks have yet to hit the sentimental Dow 20,000 mark, and futures were indicated lower on Tuesday. The post-election rally has continued and investors are looking for value and growth opportunities in 2017. Those same investors are still willing to buy pullbacks, even with the bull market almost eight years old.

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

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations on Tuesday, January 10, 2017:

Oppenheimer raised American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) to Outperform from Perform with a $98 price (versus a $75.86 prior close). Merrill Lynch raised its rating to Buy one day earlier. The shares have a 52-week trading range of $50.27 to $76.55. The consensus analyst price target is $75.96.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup in a valuation call noting that the deregulation already has been priced in and that it might already reflect a needed revenue bump that would justify the stock’s post-election rally. The 52-week range is $138.20 to $246.20, and the consensus target price is $234.23.

Not only was Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) raised to Buy from Neutral at Merrill Lynch, but the firm’s price objective is now $175. The upgrade was said to be based on its HiSeq upgrade, GRAIL restructuring and a better research demand. Shares were last seen up almost 14% at $161.00 in premarket trading, after targeting a $100 genome with the launch of the NovaSeq Series.

Berenberg started PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) with a Buy rating and assigned a $51 price target (versus a $41.40 close). Its consensus target price is $46.47, and the 52-week range is $30.52 to $44.52.

Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was cut to $32 from $35 at Jefferies. The move is after Williams announced a series of transactions aimed at simplifying its corporate structure, minimizing future equity needs, reducing leverage, improving WPZ’s cost of capital and charting a path for future distribution and dividend growth. Jefferies feels long-term upside may be limited.

The quiet period for Trivago N.V. (NASDAQ: TRVG) has come to an end. The stock was started as Overweight with a $17 price target (versus an $11.89 close) at Morgan Stanley. JPMorgan started it as Overweight with a $16 target, and Cowen started it as Outperform with a $15 target. Deutsche Bank started it as Hold with a $13 price target. Citigroup started Trivago as Neutral. Merrill Lynch started it as Buy and assigned a $15 price objective.

24/7 Wall St. has just released its formal first look at the DJIA Bull-Bear Outlook that points to DJIA 21,422 in 2017. This also includes reviews of the top Dow stocks that will drive that for a gain of more than 8% this year, if it proves correct. Last year’s 19,700 bull-bear target compared with a year-end price of 19,762.60.

More analyst calls were seen Tuesday in the following:

  • Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price objective was raised to $110 from $97 at Merrill Lynch. This call is on the heels of the purchase of Virgin America closing, and the firm believes Alaska Air has the greatest opportunity for network diversification as it gains access to top slot-constrained airports.
  • AMAG Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAG) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $25 price target (versus a $23.00 close) at Janney. This is after AMAG is no longer pursuing Orphan Exclusivity for Makena.
  • ARIAD Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy but the price target was raised to $24 from $11 at Jefferies after its buyout news.
  • Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $35 from $31 at Jefferies.
  • Discovery Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA) was downgraded to Neutral from Underperform with a $23 price target (versus a $26.87 close) at Credit Suisse.
  • Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy based on valuation at Janney.
  • Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) was started with a Sell rating at Citigroup.
  • Priceline Group Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN) was started as Buy at Citigroup.
  • Sprague Resources L.P. (NYSE: SRLP) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the fair value estimate is $29 (versus a $28.90 close) at Janney.
  • TripAdvisor Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) was started as Neutral at Citigroup.
  • World Acceptance Corp. (NASDAQ: WRLD) was downgraded to Underperform and the price target was cut to $53 from $60 (versus a $64.93 close) at Jefferies. The firm noted that the post-election rally ignores funding constraints.

You can follow @Jonogg on Twitter if you would like the daily analyst calls directly on your own feed.

Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades were in American Express, Coca-Cola, NVIDIA, Procter & Gamble, Texas Instruments, Transocean and about a dozen more.

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