Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: BioMarin, CSX, Kinder Morgan, Microsemi, Splunk, US Steel, Walmart and More

March 2, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

The stock market fell handily on the first day of March after steel and aluminum tariffs sparked fears of a trade war, and the major indexes were indicated lower on Friday as well. While investors had to witness aggressive and violent selling in early February, the trend that prevailed was for investors to buy the pullback. That being said, this bull market is now a few days away from being nine years old. Investors have 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 Friday, March 2, 2018.

Allegheny Technologies Inc. (NYSE: ATI) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $32 price objective (versus a $25.61 prior close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm noted that recent stock weakness on its joint venture concerns does offer an opportunity for investors.

American Outdoor Brands Corp. (NYSE: AOBC) was maintained as Outperform but the price target was cut from $15 to $13 (versus a $9.41 close) at Wedbush Securities.

Ameriprise Financial Inc. (NYSE: AMP) was downgraded to In-Line from Outperform with a $170 price target (versus a $153.66 close) at Evercore ISI.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $116 from $113 (versus a $77.67 close, after a 4.3% drop) at Credit Suisse.

BP Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: BPMP) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $24 from $21 (versus a $19.56 close) at UBS.

Brunswick Corp. (NYSE: BC) was reiterated as Outperform with a $70 price target (versus a $60.91 close) at Wedbush. The firm is still positive now that the fitness spin-off has been confirmed and will offer a chance for management to focus on its core operations.

CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) was maintained as Outperform but the price target was cut to $65 from $67 at Credit Suisse. Shares closed up 1.5% at $54.52 on Thursday.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) was maintained as Buy at UBS, but the price target was lowered to $26 from $28. Kinder Morgan was up one cent at $16.21 on Thursday, and its shares were down 1% at $16.05 on Friday.

Magellan Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: MMP) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $81 from $80 (versus a $63.10 close) at UBS.

Manitowoc Co. Inc. (NYSE: MTW) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $33 price target (versus a $27.95 close, after a 6% drop) at Robert W. Baird. The shares were indicated down 2.8% more at $27.15 on Friday morning.

Medical Transcription Billing Corp. (NASDAQ: MTBC) was started as Buy with a $5 price target (versus a $3.67 close, after a 7.3% drop) at H.C. Wainwright.

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Microsemi Corp. (NASDAQ: MSCC) was last seen up 5% at $67.54 after news that Microchip Technology is acquiring it. Analysts have lowered their ratings to reflect the company being bought out. Downgrades have been seen from Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Stifel, Susquehanna, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and other firms.

ONEOK Inc. (NYSE: OKE) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $72 from $70 (versus a $56.51 close) at UBS.

Oskosh Corp. (NYSE: OSK) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $90 price target (versus a $78.34 close) at Robert W. Baird.

Patterson Energy Group Inc. (NASDAQ: PEGI) was raised to Neutral from Underperform but the price objective was cut to $17 from $19 at Merrill Lynch.

Plains All American Pipeline L.P. (NYSE: PAA) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $27 from $25 (versus a $21.34 close) at UBS.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) was reiterated as Buy with a $75 fair value estimate (versus a $62.11 close) at Janney.

Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) was last seen up 4.8% at $98.15 after strong earnings. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $110 from $88. UBS reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $110 from $102, and Wells Fargo reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $115 from $110.

Terex Corp. (NYSE: TEX) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $42 price target (versus a $40.03 close) at Robert W. Baird.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch, but the firm raised its price objective to $50 from $47. The firm expects a backlash to the tariffs despite higher production coming from the company. U.S. Steel was up 5.75% at $46.01 on Thursday after the tariff announcement, but its shares were last seen down 2.3% at $44.95. The 52-week trading range is $18.55 to $47.64.

VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) was down 6.1% on Thursday and was indicated down another 2.7% at $120.20 on Friday morning. It was maintained as Outperform but the target price was cut to $138 from $142 at BMO Capital Markets.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer. Shares closed down 1% at $89.08 on Thursday and were indicated down 1.3% at $87.85 on Friday. The 52-week range is $69.33 to $109.98.

Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ: ZION) was reiterated as Buy with a $60 price target (versus a $54.38 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Thursday’s top analyst calls included AutoZone, Glaukos, Itron, Leidos, Lowe’s, Salesforce.com, Shopify, Toyota and many more.

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