Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Albermarle, American Airlines, Ellie Mae, Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt, Mylan, NetApp, Southwest Air and More

Stocks have been swinging up and down for several days now, but the major indices were indicated to open up on Thursday. The bull market may now be over nine years old, but it has become more obvious that the trend of buying pullbacks is now much more vulnerable to sellers, volatility and each major news headline. This makes it more difficult 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 Thursday, April 12, 2018.

Albemarle Corp. (NYSE: ALB) was maintained as Overweight but the price target was cut to $140 from $148 (versus a $93.31 prior close) at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) was maintained as Overweight but the price target was cut to $55 from $61 at Morgan Stanley. This was after a 4.3% drop to $45.40 on Wednesday, and the stock has a 52-week range of $42.01 to $59.08. It also had a consensus target price of $63.90.

Avangrid Inc. (NYSE: AGR) was reiterated as Buy with a $54 price objective (versus a $50.50 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) was maintained as Underweight and the price target was cut to $16 from $17 at KeyBanc Capital Markets. Wedbush maintained its Neutral rating and it has a $21.50 price target while noting severe margin pressure. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Underperform rating but lowered its price objective to $16. Credit Suisse maintained its Neutral rating but lowered its target to $20 from $25.

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: BLCM) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo. Shares were up 1.5% at $6.85 on Wednesday but were up 21% at $8.30 on Thursday after news that a clinical hold was lifted on studies of its BX-501 in the effort that may enable physicians to more safely perform stem cell transplants.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) was maintained as Overweight but the price target was cut to $65 from $66 at Morgan Stanley. This was after a 1.7% drop to $51.47 on Wednesday. Delta’s consensus target price was $73.00.

Ellie Mae Inc. (NYSE: ELLI) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral and the price target was cut to $69 from $90 at Wedbush, with the firm noting that there are difficulties ahead with a disappointing year for mortgage originations in 2018 and with skepticism around Ellie Mae’s ability to achieve its long-term growth and profitability targets. Its shares were down 1% at $94.00 on Wednesday and were indicated down 2.6% at $91.50 on Thursday.

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