Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Friday after Thursday’s big-sell-off. Even with the turmoil in Washington, D.C., the markets are still very close to all-time highs. The one trend that has dominated the markets for more than half of the eight-year bull market is that investors have kept 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. Our goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of the top analyst reports cover stocks to buy, but some calls 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 Friday, August 18, 2017.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $190 from $180 at Stifel. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target price to $197 from $178. Its American depositary shares closed up 2.8% at $163.92 on Thursday after strong earnings. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating as well. It has a 52-week trading range of $86.01 to $168.00 and a consensus analyst price target of about $178.00.
Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (NYSE: APRN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel, and the price target was cut to $6 from $8. The downgrade is after earnings were called as being challenged. Shares closed down 2% at $5.39 on Thursday and were indicated down 1.5% at $5.30 ahead of Friday’s opening bell. Blue Apron has a post-IPO range of $5.00 to $11.00 and a consensus price target of $6.68.
Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) closed up 0.5% at $22.68 ahead of earnings and was last seen up more than 5% at $23.95 ahead of Friday’s opening bell. It was reiterated as Buy with a $35 price target (versus a $22.68 prior close) at Jefferies, after a solid earnings performance in a tough environment. The 52-week range is $21.02 to $30.74, and the consensus price target is $25.12.
Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMY) was raised to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank, while Merrill Lynch was maintained as Buy even with a target cut. The stock closed up 3.5% at $1.78 on Thursday and was indicated up 6.5% at $1.89 on Friday. Harmony Gold has a 52-week range of $1.56 to $4.14 and a consensus price target of $2.38.
Myriad Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: MYGN) was raised to Hold from Sell with a $28 price target (versus a $27.86 close) at Deutsche Bank. Its 52-week range is $15.15 to $28.39, and it has a consensus analyst target of $21.70.
Noble Corp. PLC (NYSE: NE) was maintained as Sell at Argus, based on weak industry outlook. Argus noted that Noble continues to face pressure from the decline in offshore drilling activity and that it has been hurt by lower fleet utilization and day rates. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating with a $6 price target, noting that there was a nice long-term win in Guyana that allowed it to raise estimates. The stock closed down 1.9% at $3.17 a share on Thursday and was indicated up 2.7% at $3.25 on Friday.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was reiterated as Underperform but the price target was raised to $77 from $76 at RBC Capital Markets. Walmart has a 52-week range of $65.28 to $81.99 and a consensus price target of $82.11.
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Other top analyst calls were seen as follows: