Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Abercrombie, Altria, Century Aluminum, DSW, Ford, Quest Diagnostics, Sunoco and More

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Stocks have been mixed all week, but Wednesday’s indications were for the major indices to open up about 0.3%. The bull market is now over nine years old, and investors are trying to weigh the recent volatility to decide how they want to be positioned for the year ahead and beyond. One trend that has kept working is for investors 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 Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) was reiterated as Buy and with a $25 target price (versus a $22.15 prior close) at Argus. The independent research firm had just raised its rating to Buy in January.

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) was reiterated as Buy with a $79 price target (versus a $66.13 close) at Argus. The firm sees Altria continuing to diversify away from tobacco risks with non-tobacco efforts, and it raised 2018 earnings to $4.00 from $3.59 per share and set a $4.38 per share target for 2019.

AMC Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: AMCX) was started as Sector Perform with a $57 price target (versus a $51.46 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Bluebird Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: BLUE) was started with a Neutral rating and given a $220 fair value estimate (versus a $223.35 close) at Janney.

Century Aluminum Co. (NASDAQ: CENX) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $29 price target (versus a $21.58 close) at JPMorgan. This is after Cowen and BMO upgraded it earlier this week, and shares closed up 3.7% on Tuesday and up 3.3% on Monday.

Commercial Metals Co. (NYSE: CMC) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $28 price objective (versus a $25.36 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Cornerstone OnDemand Inc. (NASDAQ: CSOD) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $51 from $49 (versus a $44.54 close) at Credit Suisse.

DSW Inc. (NYSE: DSW) was maintained as Neutral but the price target was raised to $22 from $20 (versus a $21.70 close) at B. Riley. Wedbush maintained its Neutral rating and $21 price target.

Epizyme Inc. (NASDAQ: EPZM) was maintained as Outperform but the price target was cut to $25 from $26 at Oppenheimer. Wedbush maintained its Outperform rating and raised its target to $24 from $21 after incorporating its mesothelioma opportunity into the model. Shares closed at $19.15 the prior day.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) was raised to Overweight from Underweight with a $15 price target (versus a $10.78 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Oceaneering International Inc. (NYSE: OII) was raised to Hold from Underperform with a $19 price target (versus an $18.82 close) at Jefferies.

PTC Inc. (NASDAQ: PTC) was reiterated as Outperform with a $91 price target (versus a $79.48 close) at Wedbush Securities.

Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE: DGX) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight with a $103 price target (versus a $104.99 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Sabra Healthcare REIT (NYSE: SBRA) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $24 price target (versus a $17.95 close) at Mizuho.

SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI) was maintained as Neutral but the price target was raised to $73 from $71 at Credit Suisse.

Sunoco L.P. (NYSE: SUN) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral and the price target was cut to $28 from $33 (versus a $28.02 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Ultimate Software Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTI) was downgraded to Neutral with a $255 price target (versus a $248.78 close) at Wedbush. The firm feels that further EV/FCF multiple expansion looks unlikely at this point.

United Natural Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI) was reiterated as Buy with a $56 price target (versus a $45.66 close) at Argus, which sees the recent weakness as a buying opportunity and noted that the company is driving growth through accretive acquisitions last year and into this year.

Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO) was maintained as Buy but the price target was lowered to $76 from $83 (versus a $68.22 close) at Argus.

Tuesday’s top analyst calls included AMD, Altice USA, Century Aluminum, Cerner, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Cigna, General Electric, Micron Technology, Noble Energy and many more.

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