Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Ally, IBM, MetLife, Qualcomm, Verizon, Williams, Incyte and Many More

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Stocks have pulled back off their highs from the end of 2016 and that Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) 20,000 mark remains elusive. The major market indexes were indicated a tad lower on Monday, and the path to DJIA 21,422 in late 2017 or early 2018 remains possible. Investors have proven over and over that they want to keep buying any real pullback. The fact that this bull market is now almost eight years old now and that valuations remain high has not mattered.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst reports each day of the week. The goal in this effort is 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. Here we have included some color where appropriate, and Thomson Reuters was used for consensus analyst price target data.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Monday, January 23, 2017:

Ally Financial Inc. (NASDAQ: ALLY) was started with a Positive rating and assigned a $28 price target (versus a $19.27 prior closing price) at Susquehanna. Ally Financial has a 52-week trading range of $14.84 to $20.60 and a consensus analyst price target of $24.71.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was reiterated as Buy and the target price was raised to $185 from $175 (versus a $170.55 prior closing price, after a 2.2% gain) at Argus. IBM has a 52-week range of $116.90 to $170.64 and a consensus analyst price target of $161.00. Argus believes that IBM is succeeding in its transformation from providing legacy IT solutions to becoming a provider of comprehensive next-generation solutions including cloud, analytics and cognitive computing. Here is why Merrill Lynch and Jefferies see IBM heading much lower.

MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $65 price target (versus a prior closing price of $54.33) at Deutsche Bank. MetLife has a 52-week range of $35.00 to $58.09 and a consensus analyst target price of $60.46.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $70 price target (versus a closing price of $62.88, after falling 2.4%) at Instinet. Qualcomm has a 52-week range of $42.24 to $71.62 and a consensus analyst price target of $73.63. Qualcomm was indicated down 4% more at $60.33 after facing a $1 billion patent royalty suit from Apple.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo. Verizon has a 52-week range of $46.01 to $56.95 and a consensus analyst price target of $53.41. Verizon’s stock performance is said to be unsustainable, and the team feels that Verizon’s consensus 2017 estimates are too high.

Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $33 from $32 (versus a $28.21 prior close) at Jefferies. Williams has a 52-week range of $10.22 to $32.69, and the consensus analyst target price was $32.14.

Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY) was started with an Outperform rating and was assigned a $137 price target (versus a prior closing price of $117.22) at Credit Suisse. Incyte has a 52-week range of $55.00 to $122.68 and a consensus analyst price target of $122.21. Credit Suisse is bullish on Jakafi’s continued expansion and the firm sees future earnings growth from Incyte’s drug candidate pipeline.

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

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) was started as Outperform and assigned a $107 price target (versus an $84.62 prior close) at Credit Suisse. The firm sees upside in the continued pipeline expansion, its commercial rare disease company scarcity value, and potential to be best in class in next generation gene therapy drives the strong rating in BioMarin.

Credit Acceptance Corp. (NASDAQ: CACC) was started with a Neutral rating and was assigned a $226 price target (versus a $203.26 close) at Susquehanna.

Camden Property Trust (NYSE: CPT) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight with an $83 price target (versus an $82.98 close) at Barclays.

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $115 from $103 (versus a $97.79 close) at Argus. The firm believes that Check Point has begun to benefit from its investments in sales force expansion and new product development over the past several years.

Cenovus Energy Inc. (NYSE: CVE) was downgraded to Sell from Buy with a $13 target price (versus a $14.61 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $75 price target (versus a $60.14 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. (NYSE: TAP) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $106 price target (versus a $97.62 close) at Credit Suisse. The firm is cautious about the Molson Coors brand portfolio allocation and believes its top-line growth opportunities are limited. They also noted that the MillerCoors acquisition does not solve some concerns and that its valuation is also not cheap.

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC) was started with a Neutral rating was assigned a $14 price target (versus a $13.48 close) at Susquehanna.

Unilever PLC (NYSE: UL) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) was reiterated as Buy with a $170 target price at Argus.

Friday’s top analyst calls included Alphabet, Amazon, Bristol-Myers, CBS, Check Point, CSX, Facebook, PayPal and many more.

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