Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, American Water, BHP Billiton, Boeing, Costco, Crocs, Dollar General, McDonald's, Ulta Beauty and More

Stocks have been volatile lately, and this Monday was looking to be a positive day despite the geopolitical uncertainty after bombing targets in Syria. The bull market may now be over nine years old, but the trend of buying pullbacks has become much more vulnerable to sellers, volatility and each major news headline. Many investors are finding it hard 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 Monday, April 16, 2018.

American Electric Power Co. Inc. (NYSE: AEP) was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised to $73 from $71 (versus a $67.34 prior close) at Morgan Stanley.

American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) was raised to Buy from Neutral and was the price target was raised to $92 from $87 at Janney. The firm adjusted its valuation to reflect the impact of its Pivotal Home Solutions acquisition.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. Shares closed up 1.2% at $46.80 and were indicated up 0.2% at $46.90 on Monday, in a 52-week trading range of $33.37 to $50.79.

Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) was downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James. The stock was down 1% at $42.02 on Friday and was indicated down 1.5% at $41.40 on Monday.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) was reiterated as Equal Weight but the price target was raised to $400 from $375 (versus a $329.28 close) at Morgan Stanley. Boeing has a 52-week range of $175.47 to $371.60.

BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA) was started as Outperform and assigned a $60 target price at Cowen. This is after a 1.3% drop to $52.86 on Friday, and it compares with a 52-week range of $38.04 to $58.22.

Boston Beer Co. Inc. (NYSE: SAM) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs. The stock was down 1.16% at $212.65 on Friday, and it has a 52-week range of $128.70 to $219.23.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo. Costco shares closed up nine cents at $188.91 on Friday, and the shares were indicated up 1.3% at $191.42 on Monday.

Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) was downgraded to Negative from Neutral at Susquehanna. Shares were down almost 3% at $16.27 on Friday, and the stock was indicated down 4.9% at $15.47 on Monday.

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