Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Accenture, Ciena, Shake Shack, US Steel, Zions, China and More

May 24, 2017 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were simply looking for direction, with no real bias up or down, on Wednesday. The markets have all bounced handily after last week’s big sell-off, and investors should consider that the S&P 500 is up against 2,400 and the Dow is up against 21,000 again. The bull market is now well over eight years old, and investors keep proving that they will find one reason, or multiple reasons, to buy every sell-off. 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, while others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Some additional color and commentary has been added on most of the following daily analyst calls. Consensus analyst price targets are from the mean of the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls seen on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Accenture PLC (NYSE: ACN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $130 price target (versus a $122.15 prior closing price) at SunTrust Robinson Humphreys. It has a 52-week trading range of $108.66 to $126.53 and a consensus analyst target of $130.68.

Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $23 price target (versus a $24.35 close) at Deutsche Bank. Ciena has a 52-week range of $16.66 to $26.84 and a consensus price target of $28.72.

Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) was started as Overweight and assigned a $44 price target (versus a $37.03 close) at Piper Jaffray. The 52-week range is $30.36 to $42.94, and the consensus price target is $37.90.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was raised to Outperform From Neutral by Credit Suisse. U.S. Steel has a 52-week range of $13.68 to $41.83 and a consensus analyst target of $28.25.

Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ: ZION) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $44 price target (versus a $41.34 close) at Goldman Sachs. It has a 52-week range of $23.02 to $48.33 and a consensus price target of $46.21.

Outside of stocks, perhaps the largest downgrade of them all came from Moody’s, when it downgraded the ratings of China to A1 from Aa3. And Moody’s has now changed its outlook to Stable from Negative. The downgrade reflects the ratings agency’s expectation that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years and that the economywide debt will continue to rise as potential growth slows. This may seem small in light of the cut, but the iShares China Large-Cap (NYSEMKT: FXI) closed down 0.13% at $39.58 on Tuesday and was indicated down only 0.1% at $39.54 on Wednesday. This exchange traded fund has a 52-week range of $31.96 to $39.85 and about $3.1 billion in assets.

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Other key analyst calls were seen in the following:

Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE: ANW) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $9 price target (versus a $10.50 close) at Stifel.

Autoliv Inc. (NYSE: ALV) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight and given a $120 target price (versus a $106.90 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was reiterated as Hold but the price target was raised to $51 from $43 (versus a $51.55 close) at Jefferies.

Bioverativ Inc. (NASDAQ: BIVV) was raised to Neutral from Underperform and the price target was raised to $52 from $47 at Credit Suisse. The firm thinks the last transaction was a smart late stage pipeline deal.

Brookfield Renewable Energy L.P. (NYSE: BEP) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets.

Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE: DSX) was raised to In-Line from Underperform with a $5 price target (versus a $4.00 close) at Evercore ISI Group.

DSW Inc. (NYSE: DSW) was raised to Neutral from Negative with a $16 price target at Susquehanna, and Wedbush kept a Neutral rating but lowered the price target to $18 from $23.

LSC Communications Inc. (NYSE: LKSD) was started as Neutral and assigned a $24 price objective at Merrill Lynch.

NovoCure Ltd. (NASDAQ: NVCR) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $15 target (versus an $11.60 close) at Wells Fargo.

Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Ooma Inc. (NYSE: OOMA) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was cut to $12 from $16 at Credit Suisse. William Blair downgraded it to Market Perform from Outperform, and Merrill Lynch downgraded Ooma to Underperform from Buy and slashed its price objective to $10 from $13. These downgrades followed disappointing first-quarter results (a loss) and lowered 2018 growth guidance. Shares closed up 0.4% at $11.70 on Tuesday and were indicated down at about $9.90 or so on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $6.67 to $12.30, and the pre-drop consensus analyst target price was $14.70.

Scorpio Tankers Inc. (NYSE: STNG) has entered into agreements to merge with Navig8 Product Tankers to acquire its 27 operating refined products tankers for approximately $1.1 billion. According to Jefferies, this will soon make Scorpio the largest U.S.-listed owner of refined product tankers, and the firm reiterated its Buy rating and $6 price target, after a $4.20 closing price the previous day.

Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Signature Bank (NASDAQ: SBNY) was reiterated as Buy with a $175 price objective (versus a $140.80 close) but was added to the prized US 1 list at Merrill Lynch.

T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (NASDAQ: TROW) was downgraded to Sell from Buy with a $61 price target (versus a $71.06 close) at UBS.

Tuesday’s top analyst calls were in Agilent, Carvana, Cloudera, NCS Multistage, Noble Energy, Shopify, Xilinx and over a dozen more.