Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alphabet, Caterpillar, Ford, Intel, Microsoft, Weatherford, Wynn and Many More

Athene Holding Ltd. (NYSE: ATH) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $46 price target (versus a $46.96 close) at JPMorgan.

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at Pacific Crest.

Comstock Resources Inc. (NYSE: CRK) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $17 price target (versus a $12.71 close) at Robert W. Baird.

Daqo New Energy Corp. (NYSE: DQ) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $40 price target (versus a $23.27 close) at Craig-Hallum. This is a small cap Chinese company that manufactures and sells polysilicon and wafers.

Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR) was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $60 target price (versus a $60.08 close) at Goldman Sachs.

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $15 price target of $15 (after falling 1.5% to $15.68 on the prior day) at Cantor Fitzgerald. First Data has a consensus analyst target of $17.29 and a 52-week range of $8.37 to $16.11.

Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN) was started as Overweight with a $93 price target (versus a prior closing price of $76.80) at Cantor Fitzgerald.

JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ: JBLU) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, noting that this was a valuation downgrade that also was brought on by rising costs.

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX) was raised to Outperform from Perform and given a new $55 price target (versus a $39.86 close) at Oppenheimer.

PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) was up 3.6% at $21.18 on Thursday and was indicated up 3.8% more at $21.99 on Friday after earnings. It was raised to Buy from Underperform with a $25 price objective at Merrill Lynch. PulteGroup was also reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $24 from $22 at RBC Capital Markets. Its 52-week range is $15.21 to $22.40.

Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) was started as Hold at Argus, which noted that Splunk shares appear to fairly valued at $57.73, but the firm did note that the company raised guidance and it believes that Splunk shares could quickly command a higher premium if revenue accelerates.

STMicroelectronics N.V. (NYSE: STM) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Vantiv Inc. (NYSE: VNTV) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $74 price target (versus a $62.62 close) at Cantor Fitzgerald.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations included Hasbro, Johnson & Johnson, Mattel, MetLife, United Rentals, United Technologies, Williams Companies and many more.

Credit Suisse has given an earnings season scorecard. The large cap EPS “beat rate” has slipped from last week but remains strong versus history. Large cap sales beats are still weak relative to history. So far 82% of large caps, 73% of mid-caps and 65% of small caps have beaten EPS expectations, and 51% of large caps, 60% of mid-caps and 52% of small caps have beaten consensus sales expectations.

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