Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Broadcom, Cheniere, Gilead, Microchip Tech, Twitter, Lennar, Bankrate and Many More

February 8, 2017 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated slightly lower on Wednesday, although a 20-point Dow drop and three-point S&P 500 retreat are hardly worth getting down in the dumps about. After all, the Dow is still above 20,000 and the S&P 500 remains within striking distance of the 2,300 level. Despite this bull market being eight years old, investors keep finding new reasons to buy every sell-off. Those same investors are also looking for new and overlooked opportunities. And there is still a path for DJIA 21,422 later in 2017 or in early 2018.

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

Most of the following featured analyst calls include some color, and Thomson Reuters was used for consensus analyst price target data. These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Wednesday, February 8, 2017:

Broadcom Ltd. (NASDAQ: AVGO) was maintained as a Top Pick (official Outperform rating) and the price target was raised to $225 from $200 at RBC Capital Markets. Broadcom’s 52-week trading range is $114.25 to $207.40, and it has a consensus analyst target price of $216.23.

Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT: LNG) was started with an Outperform rating at Wells Fargo. Cheniere was down 1.4% at $47.81 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $23.74 to $50.53 and with a consensus price target of $51.30.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) was last indicated down 7% at $68.03 after earnings and guidance left a lot of room for disappointment to creep in despite a serious value here. Gilead was maintained as Buy at Jefferies, but the firm cut the price target to $83 from $93 (versus a $73.13 prior close). Citi downgraded Gilead to Neutral from Buy and cut the target price to $76 from $87. Gilead’s 52-week range is $69.78 to $103.10, so mark this up as a 52-week low.

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) was raised to Strong Buy at Needham and the price target was raised to $100 from $75 (versus a $69.92 prior close). Microchip Tech was indicated up 8% at $75.35, as acquisitions are helping boost its earnings, in a prior 52-week range of $39.01 to $69.73. The consensus target price was $71.81.

Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) was up 1.8% at $18.26 on Tuesday and was indicated up 2.1% at $18.65 on Wednesday. Twitter was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $25 price target (versus an $18.26 close) at BTIG. Twitter has a 52-week range of $13.73 to $25.25, and it has a consensus price target of $16.32.

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Other key analyst calls were seen in the following:

Bankrate Inc. (NYSE: RATE) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $14 price target (versus a $10.60 prior close) at Oppenheimer.

Cheniere Energy Partners L.P. (NYSEMKT: CQP) was started with an Outperform rating at Wells Fargo.

D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $38 price target at BTIG.

Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR) was raised to Neutral from Sell and the price target was raised to $64 from $51 at UBS.

KB Home (NYSE: KBH) was started with a Sell rating and assigned a $13 price target (versus a $16.32 close) at BTIG.

Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $56 price target at BTIG.

LendingTree Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $129 price target (versus a $113.50 price target) at Oppenheimer.

Loxo Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: LOXO) was started as Buy and assigned a $50 price target (versus a $39.68 close) at Jefferies. The analysts noted that larotrectinib is nearing the finish line and that there is still room for upside.

Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS) was downgraded to Outperform at CLSA.

NetGear Inc. (NASDAQ: NTGR) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

NGL Energy Partners L.P. (NYSE: NGL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel.

NVR Inc. (NYSE: NVR) was started at Neutral at BTIG.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (NYSE: RBS) was raised to Hold from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL) was started at Neutral at BTIG.

Varian Medical Systems Inc. (NYSE: VAR) was maintained as Buy but the price target was cut to $88 from $102 (versus a $78.43 close) at Jefferies.

YY Inc. (NASDAQ: YY) was started with a Hold rating and assigned a $45 price target (versus a $41.11 close) at Jefferies.

Tuesday’s top analyst calls included Best Buy, Caterpillar, Nokia, UnitedHealth, Wal-Mart and over a dozen more.

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Argus noted about the metrics of the stock market as of February 7, 2017:

We have pointed out that February is not a terrific market month, particularly since the turn of the millennium. But for now, the chief fundamental market mover likely will remain the pace of policy pronouncements from Washington. The upwardmoving stock market seemingly has priced in stimulative action, such as tax cuts and infrastructure spending, that needs more than the president’s pen. The pace at which these items gradually wend their way to and through Congress should remind investors that major changes require time. In the interim, improving earnings and better GDP will be needed to buttress the stock market.