Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AK Steel, Merck, Twitter, US Steel, Disney, Xerox and More

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Stocks were soft on Thursday morning but the directional move is not so great that there is much conviction set for the day. Trump’s press conference on Wednesday created some volatility, but yesterday’s gain ended up almost 100 points and came within 50 points of the elusive Dow Jones Industrial Average 20,000. The two themes that remain are the post-election market strength and investors buying pullbacks. While this bull market is almost eight years old, there is also a case for Dow 21,422 to be hit in late 2017 or early 2018.

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 Thursday, January 12, 2017:

Credit Suisse downgraded AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) to Neutral from Outperform with a $9.50 price target (versus an $11.02 prior close). The shares have a consensus analyst target price of $9.79 and a 52-week trading range of $1.64 to $11.39.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) were raised to Buy from Neutral with a $70 price target (versus a $61.63 close) at Guggenheim. The 52-week range is $47.97 to $65.46, and the consensus price target of $67.28.

Pivotal Research downgraded Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) to Hold from Buy and cut its price target to $17 from $26 (versus a $17.30 close). It has a 52-week range of $13.73 to $25.25 and a consensus price target of $16.92.

Along with a United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) downgrade to Neutral from Outperform, Credit Suisse has a $30 price target (versus a $35.20 close). The consensus target price is $30.80, and the 52-week range is $6.15 to $39.14.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) was downgraded to Sell from Hold and given an $85 price target (versus a $109.44 close) at Pivotal Research. The 52-week range is $86.25 to $109.49, and the consensus price target is $110.00.

Since Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) has completed its breakup, analysts have been rerating the stock. It was started as Overweight and assigned a $9 price target (versus a $7.01 close) at Morgan Stanley. The consensus analyst price is $8.89.

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

  • Apartment Investment and Management Co. (NYSE: AIV) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $45 price target (versus a $43.97 close) at BMO Capital Markets.
  • Atwood Oceanics Inc. (NYSE: ATW) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup.
  • EnLink Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: ENLK) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $19 price target (versus a $17.93 close) at Raymond James.
  • Energy Transfer Equity L.P. (NYSE: ETE) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.
  • Esterline Technologies Corp. (NYSE: ESL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.
  • Fluor Corp. (NYSE: FLR) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised handily to $63 from $48 (versus a $53.12 close) at Deutsche Bank.
  • Kaiser Aluminum Corp. (NASDAQ: KALU) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral with a $77 price objective (versus an $81.45 close) at Merrill Lynch.
  • Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) was raised to Buy with a $60 target at Soc-Gen.
  • Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $243 price target at Jefferies.
  • Noble Corp. (NYSE: NE) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $10 price target (versus a $7.56 close) at Citigroup.
  • Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ: STLD) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $33 price target (versus a $37.07 close) at Credit Suisse.
  • Targa Resources Corp. (NYSE: TRGP) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $62 price target at Raymond James.
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Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Citigroup, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum, Regions Financial, T-Mobile, Williams Companies, Paychex and over a dozen more.