Investing

Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Applied Materials, Celgene, Children's Place, Kinder Morgan, Match, Myriad Genetics, Nordstrom, Oracle and More

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Stocks have been mixed this week ahead of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision on interest rates, with an expected hike all but assured. And stocks were looking mixed on Wednesday as well. Now that the bull market is over nine years old, investors have to be wondering how they want to be positioned for the rest of 2018 and beyond. So far, investors have been rewarded for buying all the big pullbacks for more than five years.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of the 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 21, 2018.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was reinstated as Buy with an $80 price objective (versus a $59.23 prior close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm sees 35% upside now, with its secular chip demand growth migrating into a less cyclical industry.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) was reiterated as Buy with a $75 price target (versus a $66.43 close) at Argus. The independent research firm noted that its immuno-oncology drug Opdivo has moved closer to approval as a first-line combination treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer.

Catelent Inc. (NYSE: CTLT) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James. The stock closed at $40.52 and has a 52-week trading range of $27.48 to $47.87.

Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $110 price target (versus an $88.27 close) at JPMorgan. Celgene has a 52-week range of $86.55 to $147.17, and it has a consensus analyst target price of $118.72.

Children’s Place Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCE) was down almost 8% at $127.95 on Tuesday after earnings and sales data. Citigroup has now raised its rating to Buy from Neutral with a $148 price target. Children’s Place has a 52-week range of $94.95 to $161.65.

DCP Midstream L.P. (NYSE: DCP) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $42 price objective (versus a $33.47 close) at Merrill Lynch.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $295 price target (versus a $251.99 close) at Stifel. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its price target to $306 from $314 around a messy quarter despite positive developments.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) was started as Neutral at Instinet. The stock closed at $21.10 per American depositary share on Tuesday.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $20 price objective (versus a $15.61 close) at Merrill Lynch. This is after it and other MLP and MLP-type of companies slid handily after an adverse FERC tax ruling.

KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ: KLAC) was reinstated as Buy with a $140 price objective (versus a $117.19 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm sees a highly profitable defensive position and an underappreciated enabler of new technologies looking less cyclical than peers with best-in-class returns.

Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX) was reinstated as Buy with a $305 price objective (versus a $219.13 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm sees roughly 35% upside and is said to have a street-high target among major brokerage firms.

Lennox International Inc. (NYSE: LII) was reiterated as Hold but the price target was raised to $218 from $206 (versus a $209.61 close) at Stifel.

Match Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MTCH) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Guggenheim. Match closed up 2.17% at $46.64 on Tuesday but was indicated down 2.2% at $45.60 on Wednesday. It has a 52-week range of $15.42 to $46.95 and a consensus target price of $41.53.

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Myriad Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: MYGN) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight with a $33 price target (versus a $29.60 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Nabriva Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: NBRV) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $10 price objective at Merrill Lynch.

Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) was maintained as Neutral and the price target was lowered to $50 from $54 at Credit Suisse, with the firm noting that the stock is shifting back to fundamentals.

OneMain Holdings Inc. (NYSE: OMF) was started as Overweight with a $37 price target (versus a $31.30 close) at Piper Jaffray.

Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) was maintained as Buy with a $61 price target at Argus after Tuesday’s post-earnings weakness took away 9.4% of the share price, down to $47.05. Oracle has a 52-week trading range of $43.60 to $53.48.

Teradyne Inc. (NYSE: TER) was reinstated as Buy with a $58 price objective (versus a $48.99 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm appreciates its growing exposure to secular robotics, complemented by more stable core semiconductor testing and $8 per share in cash.

WellCare Health Plans Inc. (NYSE: WCG) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $220 price target (versus a $192.55 close) at Wells Fargo.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $58 target price (versus a $30.66 close) at Johnson Rice.

Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) was reiterated as Buy with an $85 price target (versus a $76.19 close) at Argus. The independent research firm pointed out that Xilinx is now entering a new strategy designed to drive growth by enabling the “adaptable, intelligent world” with programmable devices.

RBC sees four energy companies as takeover targets.

Several technology companies are key winners from the explosive growth in the cloud.

Five companies should be huge winners from the growth of capital spending ahead.

RBC also sees five optical and networking players as potential takeover targets.

Tuesday’s top analyst calls were in AK Steel, BHP Billiton, Dominion Energy, J.B. Hunt, KLA-Tencor, Micron Technology, Nucor, Oracle, Roku, U.S. Steel and many more.

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