Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Abbott Labs, Amazon, CME, Foot Locker, GE, Home Depot, Lam Research and More

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Stocks were indicated to open higher on Thursday after strong earnings reports. Investors are looking to position their portfolios for 2018 and beyond. The bull market is nearing nine years old, and the trend that keeps winning is for investors to buy on pullbacks even as interest rates are rising.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these 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 the daily analyst reports. 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 Thursday, January 25, 2018.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) was up 4.2% at $61.72 on Wednesday and was indicated up another 1.4% at $62.60 on Thursday after post-earnings analyst target hikes. William Blair raised its rating to Outperform, and price target were raised as follows: Barclays, BMO Capital Markets, Wells Fargo and Raymond James to $70; JPMorgan to $69; and Stifel to $71.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $1,800 from $1,500 at D.A. Davidson. Amazon closed at $1,357.51 and was indicated up at $1,370 after the call. The consensus target price was closer to $1,340, but the prior street-high analyst target was down at $1,600 ahead of this call.

Baker Hughes, a GE Company (NYSE: BHGE) was down 5.7% at $33.78 on Wednesday and was indicated up 0.2% at $33.75 despite target price cuts from several firms. JPMorgan cut the target to $29, Morgan Stanley cut its target to $44, Susquehanna cut its target to $32 and Wells Fargo cut its target to $40.

Bluebird Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: BLUE) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform but the price target was raised to $194 from a prior $162 price target (versus a $207.45 close) at Leerink.

Brinker International Inc. (NYSE: EAT) was reiterated as Buy and the target price was raised to $52 from $49 (versus a $38.87 close) at Maxim Group.

CalAmp Corp. (NASDAQ: CAMP) was raised to Neutral from Underweight with a $25 price target (versus a $22.76 close) at JPMorgan.

Chimera Investment Corp. (NYSE: CIM) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $19 price target (versus an $18.01 close) at Credit Suisse.

CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) was started as Hold with a $170 target price (versus a $154.99 close) at Berenberg.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) was maintained as Buy at Instinet, but the firm lowered its price target to $94 from $96 (versus a $78.74 close). Evercore ISI downgraded Discover to In-Line from Outperform but raised its target to $82 from $80. Wells Fargo raised its target to $84 from $83, and BMO Capital Markets lowered its target to $93 from $97.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was reiterated as Buy with a $230 price target (versus a $186.55 close) at Wedbush Securities.

Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $59 (versus a $52.25 close) at Wedbush. Pivotal research started Foot Locker as Buy with a $65 price target.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) was maintained as Buy at Citigroup, but the price target was cut to $23 from $24. Independent Research maintained its Hold rating but cut its GE target price to $17.50 from $19.00.

Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $230 from $209 at Stifel, just a day after Credit Suisse raised its target up to $222 in a similar call.

Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (NYSE: ICE) was started as Buy with a $90 target price (versus a $75.42 close) at Berenberg.

Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc. (NYSE: IVR) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with an $18 price target (versus a $17.74 close) at Credit Suisse.

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $24 price target (versus a $21.73 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX) was down 2.5% at $209.73 on Wednesday, but its shares were up 4.4% at $218.90 after strong earnings and spending forecasts. Price target hikes were seen as follows: Deutsche Bank to $240, Instinet to $250, Morgan Stanley to $240 and Susquehanna to $260.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $124 from $103 at Stifel.

Spark Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCE) was maintained as Underperform with a $40 price target (versus a $55.36 close) at Wedbush, noting that the fresh Luxturna licensing deal with Novartis is a positive but the main shortcoming of an addressable population that is simply too small to generate meaningful value will come through.

Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Cree, Home Depot, Kimberly-Clark, Microsoft, Oracle, Valeant, Valero Energy and many more.

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