Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: CarMax, Caterpillar, Chipotle, Comcast, First Solar, Juno, UnitedHealth, Walmart and Many More

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Stocks were looking for direction on Thursday morning after a big recovery on Wednesday. Investors need to keep in mind that the Dow Jones Industrial Average went over 26,100 and had the fastest 1,000 point move on record in 2018. Now that the bull market is nearly nine years old, investors still have seen the trend of buying stocks on any dips remains in place. Investors are now deciding how to position their portfolios for 2018 and beyond, and they are looking for new investment ideas.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new investing and trading ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of the 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 Thursday, January 18, 2018.

Alarm.com Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: ALRM) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $46 from $44 (versus a $38.27 prior close) at Jefferies.

American Electric Power Co. Inc. (NYSE: AEP) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $75 price target (versus a $68.25 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Appian Corp. (NASDAQ: APPN) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $20 price target (versus a $38.43 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Atmos Energy Corp. (NYSE: ATO) was maintained as Buy at Argus, but the independent research firm lowered its price target to $89 from $97 (versus an $80.82 close).

Avery Dennison Corp. (NYSE: AVY) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $135 price target (versus a $118.88 close) at UBS.

CarMax Inc. (NYSE: KMX) was raised to Outperform from Perform with an $88 price target (versus a $69.84 close) at Oppenheimer.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $200 price target (versus a $168.50 close) at Berenberg. Caterpillar shares closed down 0.5% on Wednesday but were indicated up 0.3% at$169.00 on Thursday. Its 52-week trading range is $90.34 to $173.24.

Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $69 from $59 (versus a $56.09 close) at Argus, noting an earnings beat and that its effective tax rate may go down closer to 25% from about 35% in 2017.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $425 from $400 (versus a $334.63 close) at Maxim. Chipotle has a 52-week range of $263.00 to $499.00.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH) was raised to Buy from Neutral with an $89 price target (versus a $75.84 close) at Citigroup.

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy but the price target was raised to $45 from $42 (versus a $41.68 close) at Instinet. UBS had raised its target to $49 from $45 just a day earlier.

CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $66 from $64 (versus a $57.69 close) at Argus. The call talked up that a new CEO is now on board, as well cost structures being lowered, and as being in a position to benefit from the lower corporate tax rate.

Esperion Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ESPR) was started as Outperform with a $103 price target (versus a $75.84 close) at Credit Suisse. The firm believes that upcoming Phase 3 data could support major upside in 2018.

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Merrill Lynch.

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