Investing

Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Conoco, Goodyear, Humana, Lululemon, Range Resources and Many More

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Stocks were directionless on Thursday with no major news moving the markets one way or the other. Investors proved once again this week that they want to buy any real pullbacks, even if the bull market is more than eight years old. Investors are also still looking for new trading and investing ideas.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new ideas for our readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, and some reports cover stocks to sell or to avoid. Color has been added on many of these calls, and the consensus analyst price targets referenced are from Thomson Reuters.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday, March 30, 2017:

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) was up big on news of a key asset sale leading to higher buybacks and cutting down its debt. ConocoPhillips was raised to Buy and the price target was raised to $55 from $51 at UBS. It has a 52-week trading range of $38.19 to $53.17 and a consensus analyst price target of $57.70. Shares were up 1.26% at $45.95 on Wednesday, but the big news from the sale had shares indicated up almost 8% at $49.60 on Thursday.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (NYSE: GT) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs. It closed down 0.9% at $36.19 on Wednesday and was indicated down another 0.7% at $35.95 on Thursday. Goodyear’s 52-week range is $24.31 to $37.20, and it has a consensus target price of $37.00.

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) was reinstated as Outperform and assigned a $236 price target (versus a $206.63 close) at Oppenheimer. Humana has a 52-week range of $150.00 to $207.74 and a consensus analyst target price of $224.71.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) tanked after earnings and guidance, and shares were indicated down 21% at $52.11 on Thursday, versus a prior 52-week range of $54.00 to $81.81. Oppenheimer is maintaining an Outperform rating and a $75 price target, but the firm has lowered earnings expectations. Wedbush maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its target price to $64 from $81. Merrill Lynch downgraded Lululemon to Underperform from Neutral and cut the price objective to $51. Wells Fargo downgraded Lululemon to Market Perform, and Susquehanna cut its rating to Neutral.

Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC) was raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS. Shares closed up 4.17% at $28.95 on Wednesday and were indicated up 10 cents at $29.05 on Thursday. Range Resources has a 52-week range of $26.61 to $46.96 and a consensus analyst target of $43.89.

Other key analyst calls were seen as follows:

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $138 price target (versus a $118.53 close) at UBS.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) was started as Neutral with a $55 price target (versus a $52.83 close) at UBS.

AveXis Inc. (NASDAQ: AVXS) was started as Buy and assigned a $95 price target (versus a $74.47 close) at UBS.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) was started as Neutral and assigned a $92 price target (versus an $89.58 close) at UBS.

Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ: CERN) was reiterating as Buy and the price target was raised to $73 from $68 (versus a $59.14 close) at Argus.

CyberArk Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYBR) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $109 from $105 at UBS.

Paychex Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) was reiterated as Buy with a $70 price target (versus a $59.06 close) at Argus, with the firm noting that the recent relative weakness offers a buying opportunity.

SecureWorks Corp. (NASDAQ: SCWX) was downgraded to Underperform from Buy with a $12 price objective at Merrill Lynch. The firm is concerned about weakening trends, poor guidance and limited catalysts. SecureWorks was also downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays and downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs. Shares were down 9.2% at $10.33 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $10.15 to $16.23.

Spark Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCE) was started as Buy and assigned a $70 price target (versus a $52.77 close) at UBS.

Sunoco L.P. (NYSE: SUN) was started with a Sell rating and assigned a $21 price target (versus a $24.19 close) at Goldman Sachs. Sunoco closed up 0.8% on Wednesday but was indicated down 1.3% at $23.90 on Thursday morning.

United Therapeutics Corp. (NASDAQ: UTHR) was started with a Sell rating and assigned a $112 price target (versus a $138.76 close) at UBS.

Jefferies is getting more bullish on the energy sector, with an oil official price forecast that is higher from here. The firm said the group looks very cheap (price to book) and revisions are heading higher. For industrials, Jefferies is lowering its weighting to a Market Weight from Overweight. It feels that the industrial sector has had a big run since last February and it looks expensive. The firm also said that the Trump bump is wearing thin and this group benefited from the push.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Boeing, Capital One, CenturyLink, Morgan Stanley, NRG Energy, Vertex and many more.

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