Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Ambac, Bed Bath & Beyond, GE, Tiffany, Trade Desk and Many More

May 12, 2017 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated to open marginally lower on Friday after the equity indexes posted a mixed week. It still needs to be considered that the major market indexes are all within striking distance of all-time highs. It is also important to consider that this bull market is now more than eight years old and investors have bought every single 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 and trading ideas for our readers. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy and others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls on Friday, May 12, 2017.

Ambac Financial Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBC) has been in the news over its bond insurance exposure to Puerto Rico, even as it looks to limit that risk. Ambac shares closed down 4.2% at $17.34 on Thursday, but the stock was upgraded to Neutral from Sell with a $17 price target at MKM Partners. This call was just a day after BTIG maintained its Buy rating on Ambac but lowered its target price down to $26 from $28, noting that Ambac was adding to its Puerto Rico reserves.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) was raised to Hold from Sell at Loop Capital. It closed down 2.6% at $36.66 on Thursday but was indicated up 0.9% at $37.00 on Friday. Bed Bath & Beyond has a 52-week trading range of $36.51 to $48.83 and a consensus analyst target price of $39.05.

Loop Capital’s upgrade on Bed Bath & Beyond may sound like more of an endorsement, but that actually was not the case. The report noted that this call is based on Bed Bath & Beyond’s valuation rather than being based on a more bullish fundamental view. They believe that the company’s results will be negatively impacted by secular online sales headwinds. The current valuation was said to be largely in line with Loop’s relatively bearish fundamental outlook.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) was downgraded to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank. GE shares closed up 0.6% at $28.87 on Thursday but were indicated down 1.5% at $28.44 on Friday morning. The 52-week range is $28.19 to $33.00, and the consensus target price was $32.57 prior to this call. What should stand out here is that Deutsche Bank’s price target is down at $24, which would represent a 52-week low if it occurs — and it is $3 lower than the lowest price target of all sell-side analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters.

Expanded analyst downgrade coverage from the Deutsche Bank call has been provided. The reasons for the negativity have been present for some time, but has some views GE’s dividend and cash flow metrics.

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $107 price target (versus a $92.02 prior close) at Goldman Sachs. Tiffany shares have a 52-week range of $56.99 to $97.29, and the consensus price target is $95.53.

Trade Desk Inc. (NASDAQ: TTD) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at Cantor Fitzgerald. The shares were indicated up 21% at $48.51 on Friday morning after the programmatic advertising company beat earnings. Trade Desk’s prior year high was $46.21, and its consensus target price was $43.43 ahead of this call. RBC Capital Markets has an Outperform rating on Trade Desk but raised its target to $56 from $45.

As the market may feel overbought, here are five stocks that JPMorgan says are safe to buy.

You can follow @Jonogg on Twitter if you would like this and other analyst research directly on your own feed.

Other key analyst calls were seen in the following:

Akari Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: AKTX) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair.

Arcadia Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: RKDA) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray, but this was only a $0.80 stock at Thursday’s close.

Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc. (NYSE: BFAM) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Cornerstone OnDemand Inc. (NASDAQ: CSOD) was started with a Market Perform rating at Wells Fargo.

IMAX Corp. (NASDAQ: IMAX) was reiterated as Outperform with a $39 price target at Wedbush Securities.

Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY) was started with a Perform rating and $125 target at Oppenheimer, an unusual target since the firm does not often have targets for non-Outperform ratings. Incyte closed at down 1.5% at $118.22 on Thursday but this call deserved some extra attention because the consensus analyst target price is actually closer to $145 from the sell-side analyst community.

Oppenheimer’s rating for Incyte still has some upside to it, noting that Incyte has a rich pipeline of innovative small molecule assets on the market and in development for oncology and inflammatory diseases. The ‘Perform’ rating is based on the belief that there is a market premium in Incyte shares that has been driven by takeover speculation, which the firm admitted they have no insight into over the near term. The report also talked up high expectations going into ASCO for Incyte’s epacadostat to deliver impressive benefits in combination with Keytruda in lung cancer.

Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. (NYSE: OEC) was started with a Neutral rating at Goldman Sachs.

Paylocity Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: PCTY) was started with an Outperform rating at Wells Fargo.

Scorpio Tankers Inc. (NYSE: STNG) was raised to Buy from Underperform at Merrill Lynch. Scorpio shares were indicated up 6.9% at $4.49 on Friday morning.

Teladoc Inc. (NYSE: TDOC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Craig-Hallum. The stock was down 3.4% at $29.70 on Thursday and was indicated down another 1% at $29.40 on Friday.

Visteon Corp. (NYSE: VC) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Willdan Group Inc. (NASDAQ: WLDN) was resumed with an Outperform rating and the target was raised to $40 from $35 (versus a $31.39 prior close) at Wedbush. This call noted that as energy efficiency related technologies continue to improve and displace traditional means of delivering energy, Willdan Group is a pure play on the increasing demand for professional, technical and consulting services for the utilities sector.

Merrill Lynch made some key changes in oil and gas ratings, including why Exxon Mobil and Noble could outperform other oil and gas giants.

While many retail stocks and same-store sales have been punished under the Amazon e-commerce onslaught, Jefferies has raised expectations and issued three companies it feels are insulated or immune to ongoing retail pressures.

Thursday’s top analyst calls included Caterpillar, Chesapeake Energy, Exxon Mobil, Snap, Symantec, Whole Foods, Yelp and many more.

I'm interested in the Newsletter