Friday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AbbVie, Bristol-Myers, Eli Lilly, First Solar, Generac, Oracle, Sirius XM, Southwest, Wendy's and More

Stocks were looking for direction on Friday morning, after the Dow and S&P 500 broke to new all-time highs this week. The Dow now has hit close to 50 new highs since the end of 2016, and many investors have been considering how to position themselves with the bull market now eight and a half years old. The one trend that has dominated for five years is that investors find different reasons to buy every market sell-off despite the constant noise and pressure. Those same investors are also looking 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 of the top analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while 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, September 15, 2017.

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $107 from $94 (versus a $89.22 prior close) at Jefferies. The firm’s two-stage thesis has been that consensus expectations for U.S. Humira biosimilars would be pushed back and then that investors finally can focus on the value inside the rest of the company and the pipeline rather than worrying about biosimilars risks to Humira.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight and the price target was cut to $53 from $61 (versus a $46.19 close) at JPMorgan. Its shares were indicated down 2.5% at $45.02 on Friday after the call.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) was reiterated as Buy but the price target was raised to $72 from $66 (versus a $62.69 close) at Jefferies. The firm sees the Opdivo-Yervoy combination revival and also margin expansion driving further upside ahead.

Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $96 from $89 (versus an $83.07 close) at Jefferies. The firm has confidence in Eli Lilly’s management and its ability to deliver on margin commitments based on a strong track record of execution.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $65 from $50 at Deutsche Bank. Its shares rose 3.4% to $48.38 on Thursday and were indicated to open up another 3% at $49.90 on Friday. First Solar has a 52-week trading range of $25.56 to $50.21, and it had a consensus analyst target price of $52.61 going into this upgrade.

Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE: GNRC) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $50 price objective (versus a $43.16 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm has now raised its rating twice after recognizing the storm impact on driving future demand. The shares were last seen trading up almost 2% at $44.00, in a 52-week high of $44.84. This stock was trading at about $37 in August prior to the two major hurricanes.

Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) was trading at $52.84 ahead of earnings on Thursday and was indicated to open down about 4% at $50.65 on Friday morning. The company beat expectations but its cloud revenues were deemed a tad light. Wedbush Securities maintained its Outperform rating and kept its target at $58. Jefferies reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $61 from $60.

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) was started with a Sector Perform rating and assigned a $6 price target (versus a $5.44 close) at RBC Capital Markets. This still represents about 10% upside, which is within the traditional 8% to 10% usually given on Buy/Outperform ratings at this stage of the bull market. Sirius XM has a 52-week range of $4.05 to $5.89, and this fresh $6 target was above the consensus analyst target price of $5.67.

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $66 price target (versus a $54.35 close) at JPMorgan. Southwest shares have a 52-week range of $36.31 to $64.39, and they were indicated up 1.2% at $54.99 after this call.

Wendy’s Co. (NASDAQ: WEN) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Longbow Research, and the firm raised its price target to $18 (versus a $15.23 close). Wendy’s shares were indicated up 2.3% at $15.58 on Friday morning.

Other key analyst calls were seen in the following:

Ansys Inc. (NASDAQ: ANSS) was reiterated as Neutral with a $114 price target (versus a $129.19 close) at Wedbush. The firm believes that it will have to increase spending handily to drive more growth.

Carvana Co. (NYSE: CVNA) was maintained as Neutral with a $20 price target (versus an $18.14 close) at Wedbush.

Chatham Lodging Trust (NYSE: CLDT) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $21 fair value estimate (versus a $20.94 close) at Janney. The firm likes its strategy but thinks that its stock is fairly valued at current prices.

West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. (NYSE: WST) was raised to Buy from Hold at Jefferies, following an extensive analysis of the biologics market and a better understanding of its fundamental growth and margin drivers.

Jefferies sees shopping center grocery store risks up and sees a lower outlook ahead. It downgraded Regency Centers Corp. (NYSE: REG), Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. (NASDAQ: ROIC) and Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust (NYSE: RPT) to Hold from Buy.

Talk about risk from the unknown: Jamie Dimon downgraded Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this week along with new blocking efforts from China. That cryptocurrency market lost close to 30% of its value this week. That means $50 billion in lost value from Bitcoin, Ethereum and others in just a week.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades include Apache, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, eBay, GrubHub, Hess, Nike, Nucor, Wayfair and many more.

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