Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Agnico Eagle, Apple, Embraer, FedEx, Nike, Unitil and More

Stocks may be hitting all-time highs, but we are now entering the last week of 2017. Credit Suisse has raised its S&P 500 target to 3,000 for 2018, and other strategists have raised their 2018 targets too. It is important to keep in mind that this bull market is now nearing nine years old and that investors have continued to do well buying pullbacks. Investors continue to look for new investing ideas and trading ideas to generate gains and income into 2018.

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. Others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Additional color and commentary has been added on most of these daily analyst calls. 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 26, 2017.

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (NYSE: AEM) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $62 from $59 (versus a $45.32 prior close) at Credit Suisse. The firm’s call is after the purchase of Yamana’s 50% share of Malartic exploration properties being enough to lift estimates. Agnico Eagle Mines has a 52-week trading range of $39.06 to $51.86, and it has a consensus analyst target price of $55.16.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was indicated lower on Tuesday by more than 2%. Reports have been out that iPhone 10 sales have been seeing weak demand. This is even after Barron’s gave Apple the feature cover page story titled “Dawn of a New Golden Era for Apple,” where Barron’s talked up a shift to predictable and stable earnings meriting a higher share price and over a $1 trillion market cap.

Embraer S.A. (NYSE: ERJ) was maintained as Outperform at Credit Suisse on the heels of Boeing buyout interest. The firm believes that the Brazilian government’s veto power with its “golden share” probably implies that a deal where Boeing takes possession of 50% (plus or minus) of Embraer’s commercial aviation business is the most likely outcome if a deal comes to fruition. Still, Credit Suisse is skeptical of the long-term strategic rationale of the deal.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) was reiterated as Buy and the target price was raised to $290 from $245 (versus a $250.02 close) at Argus. The firm was positive on FedEx’s recently raised guidance and said that it is looking for more positive surprises than negative surprises in the quarters ahead.

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) has been reiterated as Buy at D.A. Davidson, and the price target was raised to $78 from $68 in the call. Expanded details of the call were not available early on Tuesday.

Unitil Corp. (NYSE: UTL) was raised to Buy from Neutral but the fair value estimate was maintained at $50 (versus a $44.32 close) at Janney. The firm noted that Unitil’s shares have declined 16% from their 52-week high with weakness recently among several electric/gas utility names, and the recent 600,000 share equity offering completed on December 12 had a minor impact on valuation.

Other analyst calls were seen as follows:

Aaron’s Inc. (NYSE: AAN) was maintained as Buy with a $54 price target but slightly lowered earnings estimates at Jefferies.

Fang Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: SFUN), formerly SouFun Holdings, was reiterated as Buy with a $5.30 U.S. price objective (versus a $4.63 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm believes that Fang is on track of finishing the transition to asset-light model with no major changes in the housing market trends.

HCA Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: HCA) was reiterated as Outperform at Credit Suisse after a CMS extension of a $25 billion TX Medicaid Waiver program for the next five years.

Ignyta Inc. (NASDAQ: RXDX) was downgraded to Hold from Buy but the price target was raised to $27 from $25 at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. This stock rose by 72% to $26.85 on Friday on news that it was being acquired by Roche.

Ingevity Corp. (NASDAQ: NGVT) was maintained as Buy but the price target was lowered to $80 from $83 (versus a $70.95 close) at Loop Capital.

Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF) was maintained as Buy with a $44 target but lower earnings estimates at Jefferies.

VeriFone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) was maintained as Hold at Argus.

24/7 Wall St. recently released its 50 stocking stuffer analyst picks for 2018, which is a lined montage to our coverage from last Friday’s top analyst calls and the many 2018 projections from Wall Street strategists.

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