Stocks were indicated to open higher again on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 close to all-time highs all over again. The bull market is now more than eight years old, and the one theme that hasn’t wavered for much of that time is that investors find new reasons to buy the major indexes and their favorite stocks after every single market sell-off. Investors also are searching for new investing and trading ideas.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy and some cover stocks to sell or to avoid.
Additional color and commentary also has been added on most of the daily analyst calls. Consensus analyst price target data are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.
These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
BP PLC (NYSE: BP) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Societe Generale. Its American depositary shares closed up 1.3% at $34.90 on Tuesday and were indicated up 0.4% at $35.04 due to stronger oil prices on Wednesday. BP’s 52-week trading range is $32.50 to $38.68, and the consensus analyst price target is $37.52.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was raised to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies, but the $350 price target was maintained (versus a $348.62 prior closing price). Wedbush Securities maintained its Neutral rating and $350 target. Still, some firms cut target prices: Maxim to $435 from $470, Cowen to $370 from $440, SunTrust to $505 from $520, RBC to $400 from $500 and Morgan Stanley to $380 from $445. Shares closed up 2.5% at $348.62 ahead of earnings and were indicated up another 2.7% at $358.00 afterward. Chipotle has a 52-week range of $336.52 to $499.00.
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) just hosted its investor day, but most analysts had made their key changes after the CCAR release and also after recent earnings. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating, and Jefferies maintained its Hold rating. Barclays reiterated its Overweight rating and raised its target price to $76 from $70. Citigroup closed up 2.9% at $68.03 on Tuesday and was indicated up 0.4% at $68.31 on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $42.50 to $68.91, and the consensus price target is $70.65.
Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price objective was raised to $131 with an upside case above $150 at Merrill Lynch. Electronic Arts is said to have a 2019 outlook that is too strong to pass up and the firm sees estimates rising, and the upside case is the bullish scenario on a net-of-cash basis. Electronic Arts closed at $113.66, has a 52-week range of $73.74 to $116.04 and has a consensus target price of $118.14.
Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) was down 3% at $82.19 on Tuesday and was indicated down 0.4% more at $81.90 on Wednesday. It was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $90 price target at Leerink. Jefferies maintained its Buy rating but lowered its target to $94 from $96. Argus maintained its Hold rating. Eli Lilly has a 52-week range of $64.18 to $86.72 and a consensus price target of $90.24.
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) rose by 4.75% to $159.07 on Tuesday after strong earnings. RBC Capital Markets reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its price target to $175 from $170. Barclays raised its target price to $173 from $164, and Morgan Stanley raised its target to $162 from $150. McDonald’s has a 52-week range of $110.33 to $159.98.
Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) closed up 0.6% at $81.39 on Tuesday before beating earnings expectations, and shares were indicated up 1.6% at $82.70 on Wednesday. Barclays raised its target price to $85 from $83, Jefferies raised its target to $96 from $94, Morgan Stanley raised its target to $83 from $78 and Mizuho raised its target price to $85 from $78.
United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was reiterated as Outperform and the target price was raised to $34 from $29 at Credit Suisse, with the firm noting that it sees mid-cycle EBITDA power above expectations. Shares were up 2.7% on Tuesday, but the earnings beat had them indicated up about 7% at $26.20 on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $15.72 to $41.83, and the consensus price target was $27.23 prior to this.
Other key analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations were seen as follows: