Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Amazon, Caterpillar, Exxon, Honeywell, Lululemon, Merck, Petrobras, Under Armour and More

Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Monday morning, but not enough so that the trends look set in stone. Some investors have reconsidered what the nine-year bull market may bring in 2018 and beyond. It has become much more clear that the trend of buying pullbacks is now 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 longer term.

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 23, 2018. Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was reiterated as Outperform with a $1,750 price target (versus a $1,527.49 prior close) at Wedbush Securities. The firm sees this week’s earnings report coming with a modest sequential revenue guidance increase in the second quarter with flattish operating income.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which cited operating leverage and improvements in global sales data.

Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ: CERN) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was raised to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was reiterated as Outperform with a $260 price target (versus a $166.28 close) at Wedbush. The firm expects first-quarter results above consensus estimates, with strong audience and engagement growth and with an overall minimal impact from heightened scrutiny over privacy concerns.

Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $175 from $157 at Stifel. Honeywell has a 52-week trading range of $128.35 to $165.13 and a consensus price target of $172.06.

HubSpot Inc. (NYSE: HUBS) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital Markets.

Insmed Inc. (NASDAQ: INSM) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham, based on the run-up in shares and on a harder earnings comparison that will be harder to beat. Lululemon was up 1% at $96.31 but was down 2% at $94.30 on Monday. It had a consensus target price of $89.93.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. The shares closed up 0.3% at $58.83 on Friday but were indicated up 2.2% at $60.15. Merck has a consensus target price of $66.55.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS) was raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank. The stock was down 1% at $65.01 on Friday but was indicated up about 1.8% at $66.20 on Monday. The consensus target price is $72.67.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James. Its American depositary shares closed down 0.5% at $14.30 on Friday.

Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised to $55 from $52 at KeyBanc Capital Markets. Square was up 1.6% at $51.46 on Friday and was indicated up 1.4% at $52.20 on Monday. The consensus analyst target is closer to $49.

Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UAA) was raised to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank. The shares were indicated up 1.3% at $16.30 on Monday, but the consensus target price was still down at about $14.30 ahead of this call.

Unum Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: UMRX) was started as Outperform with an $18 price target (versus an $11.98 close) at Wedbush. The firm sees its shares as undervalued given the universal approach of its proprietary Antibody-Coupled T-Cell Receptor platform, an engineered cell construct with unique potential for treating many tumor types. Cowen started Unum Therapeutics with a Hold rating, but Morgan Stanley started coverage with an Overweight rating and $20 target.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays.

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Five top mid-cap growth stocks are the favorites of portfolio managers.

Friday’s top analyst calls included Alcoa, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Kinder Morgan, Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble, Twitter, Williams Companies and many more.

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