Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AMD, Altice, Century Aluminum, Cerner, Chipotle, Cigna, GE, Micron, Noble Energy and More

March 13, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

Source: Thinkstock
Stocks were mixed on Monday, but Tuesday’s indexes were indicated higher after core inflation remained under 2%. Now that the bull market is over nine years old, investors have to weigh the recent volatility and decide how they want to be positioned for the year ahead and beyond. The one trend that has prevailed for more than five years and has been working for investors so far is to buy all the big pullbacks.

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 Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was reiterated as Buy with an $18 price objective (versus an $11.52 prior close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm was positive on second-generation Ryzen chipset momentum continuing in 2018 after the April debut. The firm sees AMD as at the cusp of launching several new products that should help expand operating margins above consensus expectations. AMD has a 52-week trading range of $9.70 to $15.65 and a consensus analyst target price of $14.64.

Altice USA Inc. (NYSE: ATUS) was already rated as Buy at Goldman Sachs, but the firm added it to the prized Conviction Buy list with a $28 price target (versus a $19.91 close). Altice was indicated up almost 5% at $20.90 on Tuesday, and the consensus target price was $28.85 before this call. The 52-week range is $17.80 to $35.29.

Century Aluminum Co. (NASDAQ: CENX) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $30 price target (up almost 50% from the $20.82 close) at Cowen. Shares were last seen up 3.4% at $21.50 on Tuesday, and that was after a positive BMO note about stronger post-tariff demand helped Century Aluminum shares rise 3.3% on Monday.

Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ: CERN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, with the independent research firm concerned as its margins contract. The stock closed at $64.65 on Monday, and it has a 52-week range of $54.49 to $73.86 and a consensus target price of $71.55.

Chegg Inc. (NYSE: CHGG) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $22.50 price target (versus a $22.70 close) at Citigroup.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was maintained as Neutral with a $310 price target (versus a $323.76 close) at Wedbush Securities, with the firm noting that a low bar is in place with a new CEO but an inflection point for 2019 seems no closer than it was three months ago. Chipotle’s 52-week range is $247.52 to $499.00, and the consensus analyst target is $308.46.

Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI) was started with a Market Perform rating and assigned a $194 price target (versus $167.31 close) at Bernstein. Cigna closed down 3.5% on Monday but was indicated up 1% at $169.55 on Tuesday.

Follow @Jonogg on Twitter to receive the daily analyst calls and other market research calls directly on your feed.

CF Industries Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CF) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $45 price target (versus a $41.88 close) at Citigroup.

Coupa Software Inc. (NASDAQ: COUP) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) was reiterated as Underweight at JPMorgan, and the price target was slashed to $11 from an already sub-current $14 target. The firm has increased concerns about GE’s outlook for free cash flow and earnings. GE shares closed up 1.1% at $15.10 on Monday, and the stock was indicated down 2.6% at $14.72 on Tuesday. Its 52-week range is $13.95 to $30.54.

Installed Building Products Inc. (NYSE: IBP) was started as Buy with a $77 price target (versus a $61.81 close) at Instinet.

Kosmos Energy Ltd. (NYSE: KOS) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $7 price target (versus a $5.88 close) at Jefferies. The 52-week range is $5.15 to $8.62, and the market cap is $2.3 billion.

MDC Holdings Inc. (NYSE: MDC) was raised to Buy from Sell with a $32 price target (versus a $28.29 close) at UBS.

Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $66 from $55 at Mizuho. Micron shares surged over 8% up to $59.36 on Monday after Instinet raised its target much higher.

Noble Energy Corp. (NYSE: NBL) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $39 price target (versus a $30.88 close) at Argus. The independent research firm was cited for creating value for shareholders by developing its core acreage position in the DJ basin, having a successful exploration program, and that Noble should benefit from the recent acquisition of Clayton Williams Energy.

PVH Corp. (NYSE: PVH) was started as Outperform and assigned a $175 price target (versus a $143.32 close) at Credit Suisse.

Randgold Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ: GOLD) was raised to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $100 from $81 at Credit Suisse.

Total S.A. (NYSE: TOT) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays. Its American depositary shares closed at $57.47 in New York trading on Monday, and it has a 52-week range of $48.15 to $59.57.

Vocera Communications Inc. (NYSE: VCRA) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $29 price target (versus a $27.27 close) at Leerink.

I'm interested in the Newsletter
 

Credit Suisse downgraded its weight on Japanese equities to a benchmark weighting due to Japan being the most cyclical of the global markets, higher China exposure, tapering from the Bank of Japan, ongoing yen strength and a domestic slowdown.

Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Apollo Global, ADM, Cigna, HubSpot, Intuit, Newmont Mining, Nike, SAP, Time Warner and many more.