Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AK Steel, Apple, Biogen, EA, FitBit, Foot Locker, McDonald’s, Pfizer and More

January 31, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks have proven that they can sell off when they want to again, but the reality is that the markets were barely 2% off of last week’s all-time highs. And strong earnings and strong ADP payrolls were both pushing the markets back up on Wednesday morning. The bull market is now almost nine years old, and investors are looking to position their portfolios for this year and beyond. The trend that has continued to prevail has been 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 to find new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these analyst reports and research reports cover stocks to buy. Other reports 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 Wednesday, January 31, 2018.

Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $212 price target (versus a $187.89 prior close) at Citigroup. Aetna shares were down 3% on Tuesday after the Bezos, Buffett, Dimon health initiative.

AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS) was downgraded to Underperform from Buy at Merrill Lynch, and the price objective was cut to $5.50 from $8.00. AK Steel closed down 13% at $5.49 on Tuesday after earnings, but shares were indicated up 1.5% at $5.56 on Wednesday.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NYSE: AAL) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $62 price target (versus a $52.59 close) at Bernstein.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets, based on lower production expectations for the iPhone X and after government inquiries ahead of the earnings report. Apple shares were indicated down 0.25% at $166.57, after a 0.6% drop to $166.97 on Tuesday. Apple has a 52-week trading range of $127.01 to $180.10 and a consensus analyst target price of $190.95.

Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets.

Autoliv Inc. (NYSE: ALV) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform and the price target was raised to $192 from $137 at Robert W. Baird.

Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $410 price target (versus a $352.59 close) at UBS.

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $143 from $131 at Credit Suisse, with the firm noting the acceleration in the Live Services segment due to the ongoing strength of Ultimate Team for FIFA as well as the benefit of Madden after the addition of a single player campaign. Needham also reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target price to $135 from $130, and Benchmark reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target price to $141 from $136.

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Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) was down 3.2% at $79.31 on Tuesday after the Bezos, Buffett, Dimon health initiative. Its shares were indicated up 0.9% on Wednesday after RBC Capital Markets raised its rating to Outperform from Market Perform and gave a $98 price target.

FitBit Inc. (NYSE: FIT) was raised to Hold from Sell at Stifel, but the firm lowered its price target to $5.50 from $6.00 (versus a $5.20 close).

Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL) was raised to Outperform from Perform with a $70 price target at Oppenheimer. Shares were indicated up over 3% at $51.50 on Wednesday morning.

ImmunoGen Inc. (NASDAQ: IMGN) was started with a Buy rating and assigned an $18 price target (versus an $8.32 close) at H.C. Wainwright. ImmunoGen was indicated up 5% at $8.76 on Wednesday morning, and its 52-week range is $2.28 to $8.84.

Jacobs Engineering Corp. (NYSE: JEC) was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $75 price target (versus a $69.70 close) at Goldman Sachs.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was maintained as Hold at Independent Research but the target price was raised to $185 from $175. BMO Capital Markets reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $190 from $175.

MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) was maintained as Buy but was removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs. The price target of $57 compares with a $49.73 prior close.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. (NYSE: NGVC) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform with an $11 price target (versus an $8.19 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $78 from $74 (versus a $67.33 close) at Citigroup.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) was down 3.13% at $37.80 on Tuesday after earnings and after the Bezos, Buffett, Dimon health initiative. Credit Suisse reiterated its Neutral rating and raised its target price to $39 from $37. Independent Research raised its target to $40 from $39 with its Hold rating. BMO Capital Markets raised Pfizer’s target price to $43 from $39, and Leerink raised its target to $38 from $35.

SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) was reiterated as Buy with a $130 price target (versus a $110.81 close) at Argus.

TCF Financial Corp. (NYSE: TCB) was downgraded to Underweight from Neutral with a $22 price target (versus a $21.59 close) at JPMorgan.

Trimble Inc. (NASDAQ: TRMB) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $50 from $45 (versus a $44.17 close) at Oppenheimer.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with an $81 price target (versus a $67.02 close) at Bernstein.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) was downgraded to Underweight from Neutral with a $58 price target (versus a $57.40 close) at JPMorgan.

Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ZBH) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $168 price target (versus a $125.94 close) at Stifel.

Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades were in Abbott Labs, Alphabet, Amazon.com, General Electric, Gilead Sciences, Intel, Seagate Technology, U.S. Steel and many more.

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