Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AutoZone, Glaukos, Itron, Leidos, Lowe’s, Salesforce, Shopify, Toyota and More

March 1, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

The stock market has seen its first monthly drop in some time, with the Dow Jones industrial average losing about 4% in February. Stocks were indicated lower on Thursday ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s second testimony on Thursday. That being said, the trend that has worked well is for investors to buy the dips. And this bull market is now a week short of being nine years old. Investors are having to decide how they want to be positioned for the rest of 2018 and beyond.

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 analyst 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 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, March 1, 2018.

American Assets Trust Inc. (NYSE: AAT) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral and the price objective was lowered to $35 from $37 (versus a $31.72 prior close) at Merrill Lynch.

AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) was maintained as Buy but the target price was cut to $790 from $820 (versus a $664.72 close) at Citigroup.

Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $20 price target (versus a $14.05 close) at Jefferies.

Clean Harbors Inc. (NYSE: CLH) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

Cross Country Healthcare Inc. (NASDAQ: CCRN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Benchmark.

Entertainment Properties Trust (NYSE: EPR) was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Gibraltar Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: ROCK) was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Glaukos Corp. (NASDAQ: GKOS) was maintained as Buy but the price target was cut to $43 from $48 (versus a $31.30 close) at Canaccord Genuity.

Health Insurance Innovations Inc. (NASDAQ: HIIQ) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James. Its shares were last seen up 10.9% at $34.60 after beating earnings expectations.

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Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I) was raised to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan. Shares closed up 7.5% at $4.84 on Wednesday, in a 52-week trading range of $2.44 to $7.47.

Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with an $84 price target (versus a $70.00 close) at Cowen. It was last seen indicated up 5% at $73.50 after beating earnings expectations.

Leidos Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: LDOS) was already rated as Buy at Goldman Sachs, but the firm added the stock to its prized Conviction Buy list and the target price is $100. Leidos closed down 2.9% at $63.31 on Wednesday and shares were indicated up 0.3% at $63.50 on Thursday morning.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) was maintained as Neutral with an $85 target price at Wedbush Securities. The shares closed down 6.5% at $89.59 on Wednesday after posting very disappointing earnings numbers that signaled it is not really making up ground against Home Depot.

OneMain Holdings Inc. (NYSE: OMF) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $39 price target (versus a $30.66 close) at Janney.

Pegasystems Inc. (NASDAQ: PEGA) was reiterated as Outperform with a $73 price target (versus a $58 close) at Wedbush. The call sees robust ACV growth as it sees strong execution capabilities, product differentiation and proven ability to prosper in a variety of economic environments.

Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) was down 0.2% at $116.25 ahead of earnings and was last seen up 3.2% at $120.00 (above the prior all-time high of $118.15 set the previous day) after earnings. It was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $140 from $120 at Mizuho.

Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) was removed from the Best Ideas List at Wedbush, but the move was said to be due to an analyst departure. Shopify closed up 0.4% at $138.21 on Wednesday.

Tempur Sealy International Inc. (NYSE: TPX) was maintained as Outperform with a $65 price target (versus a $49.43 close) at Wedbush. The call is that Tempur Sealy can increase its market share due to problems and closures at Mattress Firm.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Merrill Lynch.

Twilio Inc. (NYSE: TWLO) was started as Buy with a $45 price objective (versus a $34.16 close) at Merrill Lynch. The leader in CPaaS is expected to grow to $1 billion in revenues out in 2021, about 150% growth over 2017.

United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) was reiterated as Buy with a $230 price objective (versus a $175.09 close) at Merrill Lynch. The company is expected to win from technology companies spending so much on new facilities and new projects, and it may even be a winner from Amazon’s second headquarters as its fleet is already tight and has pricing power.

Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price objective was raised to $32 from $31 (versus a $27.13 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Since this is America Saves Week, be sure to check out the 14 mistakes that can seriously wreck your retirement plans, as well as 10 ways to build $1 million by retirement age.

Jefferies has five earnings winners expected to raise dividends in 2018.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Celgene, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Frontier Communications, JPMorgan, Lam Research, Procter & Gamble, Square, Workday and many more.

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