Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: ADM, Boeing, Hess, LogMeIn, NetApp, Sunrun, United Continental, Valeant, XPO and More

April 6, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

Source: Thinkstock
Stocks were weak on Friday morning ahead of the unemployment and payrolls report, due to an expanded potential of $100 billion more in tariffs against China. The market has been swinging up and down, the bull market is now over nine years old, and the trend of buying pullbacks has become much more vulnerable to sellers and volatility trades. All this is making it harder for investors to decide how they want their assets positioned for the rest of 2018 and beyond.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is to find new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy. and some 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, April 6, 2018.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) was maintained as Neutral but the price target was raised to $42 from $40 at Credit Suisse, with the firms raising 2018 earnings estimates but remaining under consensus. ADM has a 52-week trading range of $38.59 to $45.91 and a consensus target price of $56.46.

Banc of California Inc. (NYSE: BANC) was downgraded to Underperform and the price objective was cut to $19 at Merrill Lynch. The firm sees elevated execution risk as management works toward achieving its strategic targets.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) was maintained as Outperform at RBC Capital Markets, but the firm did cut the price target to $358 from $378. Shares closed up 2.7% at $336.40 on Thursday but were indicated down 2.4% at $328.40 on Friday morning. 24/7 Wall St. just outlined what the actual China exposure really is this week, and analysts defended Boeing on tariff exposure on Thursday.

Chubb Ltd. (NYSE: CB) was started with a Hold rating after its ACE merger at Argus. The firm did note that while Chubb’s costs have increased, it expects the company to benefit from a better underwriting environment, better economic conditions and lower U.S. corporate taxes.

Extraction Oil & Gas Inc. (NYSE: XOG) was maintained as Outperform at Credit Suisse, but the firm lowered its price target to $17 from $20 after lowering estimates. The 52-week range is $10.28 to $18.95, and the consensus analyst target is $19.80.

Heartland Express Inc. (NASDAQ: HTLD) was started as Hold with a $17 target price at Stifel.

Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES) was reiterated as Buy with a $70 price objective (versus a $52.54 prior close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm sees Hess gaining traction as its investment case inflects in 2018 with positives coming from share buybacks, disposals, operating margin improvements and a strategy shift in the Bakken. The firm also noted that the stock remains one of its leading ideas. The 52-week range is $37.25 to $55.48. The consensus target price is $55.31.

Hub Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HUBG) was started as Hold with a $45 target price at Stifel.

Infosys Ltd. (NYSE: INFY) was started with a Sell rating and assigned a $14 price target (versus a $17.87 close) at Berenberg. It has a 52-week range of $13.88 to $18.71 and a consensus target price of $17.05.

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

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. (NASDAQ: JBHT) was started as Hold with a $119 target price at Stifel.

Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (NYSE: KNX) was started as Hold with a $48 target price at Stifel.

LogMeIn Inc. (NASDAQ: LOGM) was started as Overweight and assigned a $135 price target at KeyBanc Capital Markets. The stock closed up 1.6% at $114.15 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $98.95 to $134.80 and with a prior consensus target price of $144.70.

NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) was up 1.6% at $62.90 as it held its analyst day, raised its dividend, added a 44 billion share buyback plan and issued long-term targets to 2021. BMO raised its target price to $73 from $63, and Susquehanna raised its target to $75 from $65. Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating and raised its target to $78 from $74. NetApp has a 52-week range of $37.43 to $65.58.

Palatin Technologies Inc. (NYSE: PTN) was started as Buy and assigned a $5 price target at H.C. Wainwright.

Prologis Inc. (NYSE: PLD) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $71 from $67 at Credit Suisse.

Sunrun Inc. (NASDAQ: RUN) was downgraded in a double-downgrade to Underperform from Buy at Merrill Lynch, but the firm raised its price objective to $10 from $9. It sees limited upside now that the shares have risen 66% in 2018 and while headwinds are coming from the ITC roll-off, higher LIBOR rates and potential for additional VC exits. Sunrun has a 52-week range of $4.21 to $10.16, and the consensus target price was $10.22.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) was maintained as Equal Weight but the price target was raised to $880 from $76 (versus a $70.69 close) at Morgan Stanley. The 52-week range is $56.51 to $83.04, and the consensus target price was $82.44.

USA Truck Inc. (NASDAQ: USAK) was started as Buy with a $32 target price at Stifel.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) was raised to Neutral from Underperform and the price target was raised to $15 from $10 at Mizuho. Shares were flat at $15.79 on Thursday but were indicated up 0.3% at $15.85 on Friday. The consensus target price was $16.75 ahead of this call.

Werner Enterprises Inc. (NASDAQ: WERN) was started as Buy with a $43 target price at Stifel.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. (NYSE: WWW) was reiterated as Outperform with a $36 price target (versus a $29.93 close) at Wedbush Securities, which noted that there is a greater probability of upside to earnings while the stock has drifted.

XPO Logistics Inc. (NYSE: XPO) was reiterated as Buy and the price objective was raised to $100 from $100 (versus a $98.64 close) after company meetings highlighted its growth potential and a favorable freight market allowing its organic growth to run above targets and with one or two acquisitions being highly likely in 2018.

Thursday’s top analyst calls included Advanced Micro Device, American Express, Broadcom, Citigroup, Conatus Pharmaceuticals, Intel, Micron Technology, Nvidia, Spotify, Wells Fargo and many more.

I'm interested in the Newsletter