Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Finisar, Intel, Netflix, Occidental, Snap, Agilent and More


Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Wednesday, a morning that will probably be met with a rate hike by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) later on in the day. Even with the bull market now eight years old, investors have managed to buy stocks on every pullback. Those same investors are also looking for new trading and investing ideas.

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

Some color has been added on many of the following calls, and the consensus analyst price targets referenced are from Thomson Reuters. These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Wednesday, March 15, 2017:

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated as Outperform at RBC Capital Markets, but the firm raised its price target to $155 from $140 (versus a $138.99 prior close). Apple’s 52-week trading range is $89.47 to $140.28 and the consensus analyst price target was last seen at $142.69.

Finisar Corp. (NASDAQ: FNSR) closed down 4% at $25.69 on Tuesday but was indicated up 1.3% at $26.03 on Wednesday. It was raised to Buy from Hold at Jefferies, and the firm noted that it believes that the recent soft results and guidance and weakness in Finisar shares stem from technical product issues that likely will be resolved shortly and concerns around China where it is confident longer-term demand trends will be strong.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was slashed to $35 from $45 (versus a $35.18 close) at Credit Suisse. The firm likes the Mobileye rationale but feels the price of Intel is just too high.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) was raised to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies, but the firm is caving on a lower target by raising its target to $135 from $95 (versus a $143.19 close). This call is after Jefferies conducted a survey targeting consumers in Germany and India and found that the Netflix growth opportunity appears larger than the firm had expected.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Merrill Lynch. This is just a day after Credit Suisse gave a similar upgrade to Outperform. The 52-week range is $61.01 to $78.48.

Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) was started as Underweight and assigned an $18 price target at Cantor Fitzgerald. The shares closed down 2.4% at $20.58 on Tuesday and were indicated down 2% more at $20.17 on Wednesday. Snap’s post-IPO range has been $20.15 to $29.44, and it priced at $17 per share.

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Other key analyst calls were seen in the following:

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) was reiterated as Buy with a target price of $950 at Argus.

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight and the price target was raised to $62 from $55 (versus a $52.21 close) at Morgan Stanley.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral and the price target was cut to $26 from $34 at Credit Suisse.

American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at HSBC.

Arista Networks Inc. (NYSE: ANET) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $142 from $120 (versus a $127.00 close) at Oppenheimer.

Citrix Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) was down 3.4% to $82.02 on Wednesday and shares were indicated marginally lower on Wednesday. Citrix was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch. Jefferies maintained its Underperform rating, and its conclusion is that a strategic acquirer would be hard-pressed to seriously consider purchasing Citrix Systems at a premium to current levels (and a financial buyer would find it even more difficult).

Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Longbow Research.

Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI) was reiterated as Buy with a target price of $73, noting that the recent sell-off offers a solid buying opportunity.

Molina Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: MOH) was started as Market Perform with a $48 price target (versus a $44.23 close) at Cowen.

Mueller Water Products Inc. (NYSE: MWA) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform and the price target was lowered to $13 from $15 (versus a $12.29 close) at Cowen.

National Cinemedia Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Southwestern Energy Co. (NYSE: SWN) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

WebMD Health Corp. (NASDAQ: WBMD) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen.

Tuesday’s top analyst calls included Mobileye, Occidental, Oracle, Walt Disney, Wal-Mart and many more companies. Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades were in AIG, Boeing, GameStop, Gilead Sciences, Starbucks, Cigna, Ciena, Ferrari and over a dozen more.

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