Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Altria, Apple, GM, Procter & Gamble, Walmart and More

Stocks hit another all-time high on Monday, and the market has now put in 70 or more trading days with new highs in 2017 alone. The bull market is now nearing nine years old, and the trend that continues to prevail is for investors to buy all the big market sell-offs. For that matter, buying on any day has brought profits in the major indexes. Investors are also looking for new investing and trading ideas to generate gains and income ahead.

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 investors and traders alike. Some daily analyst reports and research reports cover stocks to buy and other calls cover stocks to sell or avoid.

Additional color and commentary has been added on most of these daily analyst calls. The consensus analyst price targets mentioned and other valuation metrics are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Tuesday, December 19, 2017.

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) was raised to Buy from Hold at Berenberg. The stock closed up 1.37%at $72.65 on Monday, in a 52-week trading range of $60.01 to $77.79, and it has a consensus analyst target price of $71.46. Altria also has the 3.7% dividend yield.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $175 price target at Instinet. Shares closed up 1.4% at $176.42 on Monday but were indicated down almost 1% at $174.74 on Tuesday. Apple has a 52-week range of $114.76 to $177.20. This downgrade was based on it achieving the price target and is after the shares hit an all-time high. The consensus target price is $187.74.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets. Shares closed up 2.9% at $52.15 on Monday and were indicated up another 1.4% at $42.74 on Tuesday. GM’s 52-week range is $31.92 to $46.76, and it had a consensus target price of $46.65.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $101 price target (versus a $91.88 prior close) at Deutsche Bank. The 52-week range is $83.24 to $94.67, and the consensus target price is $92.57.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup. Shares closed up 0.8% at $97.90 and were indicated up 1.5% at $99.34 on Tuesday. Walmart has a consensus target price of $100.73 and a 52-week range of $65.28 to $100.13.

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Other key analyst calls were seen as follows:

Acadia Healthcare Co. Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHC) was reiterated as Buy with a $42 price target (versus a $31.86 close) at Jefferies. The firm believes its strategic options could include the sale of its U.K. business, monetizing its real estate and even a leveraged buyout of the company.

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