Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Caterpillar, Comcast, Fitbit, Groupon, Mattel, Take-Two, Time Warner, Zynga and More

August 3, 2017 by Jon C. Ogg

The Dow may have crossed 22,000 for the first time ever, but Thursday’s opening bell was one in which stocks were simply looking for direction. Even with the bull market being eight years old now, the common theme that has persisted and been victorious through all the caution and worrying is that investors keep finding new reasons to buy stocks after every sell-off. Those same investors are also searching for new investing and trading ideas.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week 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 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 Thursday, August 3, 2017.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) was raised to Neutral from Underweight with a $115 price target (versus a $113.09 prior close) at Atlantic Equities. Caterpillar has a 52-week trading range of $79.93 to $114.90, and it has a consensus analyst target price of $116.53.

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $46 price target (versus a $40.01 close) at Guggenheim. Comcast has a 52-week range of $30.02 to $42.18 and a consensus target price of $46.01.

Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT) was maintained as Neutral with a $6.50 price target at Wedbush Securities, noting that it was a good quarter but without an indication of holiday demand. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Underperform rating and has a $6 price objective. Fitbit closed down 0.2% ahead of earnings but was last seen up almost 5% at $5.32 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $4.90 to $17.17 and with a consensus target price of $7.00.

Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) reported a net loss of two cents but had adjusted earnings up at a gain of two cents. Groupon shares closed up 9.3% at $4.23 on Wednesday and were indicated down 1% at $4.19 on Thursday. Credit Suisse reiterated its Neutral rating but raised its target price to $4.40 from $3.50. Wedbush maintained its Neutral rating and raised its $4.25 price target to $4.50, talking up its restructuring progress driving customer growth, higher margins and right-sizing its geographic footprint.

Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral with an $18 price target (versus a $19.62 close) at D.A. Davidson. Mattel has a 52-week range of $19.16 to $34.24 and a consensus target of $21.67. Mattel is one of our exclusive 11 companies that have lost their narrative.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) posted a beat-and-raise quarter, and the 0.7% drop to $79.39 ahead of earnings is now a 12% gain to $89.20 afterward. Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target price to $108 from $91 (versus a $79.39 close). Wedbush Securities maintained its Neutral rating kept its 12-month price target of $66. Take-Two has a 52-week range of $40.45 to $82.79 and a consensus target price of $83.12.

Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $105 price target (versus a $102.42 close) at Jefferies. Time Warner was said to be showing weaker ad views ahead, and the stock is very close to the firm’s target with the AT&T merger on track to close in the fourth quarter.

Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) was reiterated as Outperform with a $4.65 price target (versus a $3.62 close) at Wedbush, with the firm noting Zynga is doing a lot of things right, but it still has some concerns about its development pipeline.

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Other key analyst calls were seen in the following:

Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $96 price target (versus a $91.00 close) at Deutsche Bank.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) saw its shares fall almost 27% to $15.20 on Wednesday after confirming the weak earnings and outlook that investors had already been warned about by research calls. AMC took another downgrade on Thursday from Benchmark, cutting the rating to Hold from Buy.

American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $150 from $140 at Argus. The firm noted solid organic growth.

Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CRVS) was started as Outperform with a $26 price target (versus an $11.97 close) at Wedbush. The firm believes that believe the strategy of focusing on the majority of patients who do not initially derive clinical benefit from current immune checkpoint approaches will pay off as clinical data matures, and the firm noted that its CPI-444 has demonstrated meaningful anti-tumor activity as monotherapy, as well as in combination in a number of cancer types.

Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: ESIO) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $12 price target (versus an $8.48 close) at Needham. This call is after it posted a profit in the quarter and its stock was up 23% at $10.47 on Thursday.

Habit Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ: HABT) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $16 price target (versus a $15.55 close) at Cowen. The stock was down 1.3% at $15.55 on Wednesday ahead of earnings and shares were indicated to open down 7.8% at $14.50 on Thursday.

InterXion Holding N.V. (NASDAQ: INXN) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $55 from $48 (versus a $49.40 close) at Oppenheimer. The firm noted that strong revenue growth was fueled by solid demand.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE: JEC) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $66 price target (versus a $53.35 close) at Citigroup.

LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC) was raised to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer, with the firm noting that the current share price presents too compelling of an opportunity. LendingClub closed down 2.5% at $4.96 on Wednesday, and it has a 52-week range of $4.30 to $6.78. The stock was indicated up 2.3% at $5.07 on Thursday.

Oclaro Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $12.50 from $12.00 (versus a $9.13 close) at Jefferies. Oclaro was last seen up 10% after earnings of 20 cents beat expectations.

Oshkosh Corp. (NYSE: OSK) was raised to Neutral from Underperform with a $78 price target (versus a $72.39 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Prosperity Bancshares Inc. (NYSE: PB) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $72 price target (versus a $65.53 close) at Barclays.

SodaStream International Ltd. (NASDAQ: SODA) was raised to Positive from Neutral with a $79 price target (versus a $54.55 close) at Susquehanna. This is after SodaStream beat earnings, but its stock was lower in the after-hours period on Wednesday. On last look, SodaStream shares were indicated up 1.7% at $55.50 ahead of Thursday’s opening bell.

SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight and was given a $63 price target (versus a $57.64 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Vulcan Materials Co. (NYSE: VMC) was up 3.3% at $123.12 on Wednesday ahead of earnings. Vulcan was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $145 price target (versus a $123.12 close) at Stephens.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Apple, Caterpillar, Pfizer, Royal Caribbean, Shopify, Under Armour, Walmart and many more.

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