Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AIG, Exact Sciences, MercadoLibre, Pfizer, Whole Foods, Valero Energy, Yum Brands and More
Stocks were indicated to open higher yet again on Tuesday, even after the gains seen on Monday. The major market indexes are all at or right within striking distance of all-time highs. Even though the bull market is now more than eight years old, 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.
Some color has been added on most of the following analyst calls. The consensus sell-side analyst price targets are taken from Thomson Reuters.
These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. It rose 1.4% to $61.82 on Monday and was indicated up another 1.7% at $62.87 on Tuesday morning. AIG has a 52-week trading range of $48.41 to $67.47 and a consensus analyst target price of $68.43 on last look.
Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ: EXAS) was down on Monday after a short seller again slammed the company’s Cologuard effectiveness. Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and $35 price target after the call, noting that it sees nothing new and would be buyers on weakness. Exact Sciences also defended itself against the short seller on a CNBC interview on Monday.
MercadoLibre Inc. (NASDAQ: MELI) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $300 price target (versus a $296.24 prior closing price) at JPMorgan. It has a 52-week range of $126.10 to $296.33 but a consensus target price of $252.50 that is lower than the current share price.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $31 price target (versus a $33.12 close) at Citigroup. Pfizer was indicated down 1.8% at $32.53 on Tuesday, and its consensus target price was $37.89 ahead of this call.
Whole Foods Market Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) was started with a Hold rating and assigned a $35 price target (versus a $36.44 close) at Loop Capital. Whole Foods is not being given much of a takeover chance here based on a lower price target, and the consensus analyst target price is $34.05 with a 52-week range of $27.67 to $38.29.
Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $73 price target (versus a $65.55 close) at Goldman Sachs. Valero was indicated down 0.7% at $65.10 on Tuesday morning, in a 52-week range of $46.88 to $71.40 and with a consensus target price of $73.76.
Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) was raised to Buy from Hold with a price target of $80 at Argus. The firm noted that Yum continues to transform its business through refranchising and that it now plans to raise the percentage of franchised restaurants from a current 93% to 98% by 2018. The stock was indicated up 1% at $69.95 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $56.31 to $69.43 and with a consensus target price of $73.53.
Warren Buffett has released his portfolio changes, and again it was full of many surprises.
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Other key analyst calls this Tuesday were in shares of the following companies: