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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alcoa, Alphabet, BP, Epizyme, FirstEnergy, First Solar, KeyCorp, Nvidia, Vale and More

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) was reiterated as Buy and the price objective was raised to $37 from $35 (versus a $34.50 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm believes the transition to a regulated utility is the focus as disclosures are still coming.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was reiterated as Underperform with a $57 price target (versus a $74.37 close) at Credit Suisse.

Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised to $59 from $58 at JPMorgan.

Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) was reiterated as Buy at Argus, with the independent research firm saying that the recent weakness offers a buying opportunity for new buyers.

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) was raised to Positive from Neutral with a $25 price target (versus a $19.87 close) at Susquehanna.

Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) was reiterated as Buy and with a $70 target price at Argus. Shares closed down 1% at $62.88 on Monday and have a consensus target price of $75.36.

Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) was reiterated as Buy with a $300 price objective (versus a $223.88 close) at Merrill Lynch. The firm noted that Nvidia’s next-gen gaming graphics cards specs were leaked and on the horizon will represent a tailwind for the shares.

Perrigo Co. PLC (NASDAQ: PRGO) was reiterated as Buy with a $93 target price at Argus.

SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ: SIVB) was reiterated as Buy and was added to the US 1 list at Merrill Lynch. The firm noted that its growth momentum still has plenty of legs.

Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $16 price target (versus a $13.74 close) at RBC Capital Markets.

Credit Suisse has given an earnings season update now that more than one-quarter of the S&P’s market cap has reported earnings. The firm indicated that earnings are beating by 6.7% and that 80% of companies are beating earnings estimates. That compares to 4.7% and 68% over the past three years. Overall, first-quarter expectations are for revenues to rise 7.4%, earnings up 18.1% and EPS growth of 20.0%. The firm noted that EPS is on pace for 22.9% if there is a typical beat rate for the remainder of the earnings season. The recent tax change is also adding 7.1% to the bottom-line, and ex-benefit EPS growth is on pace for 15.8%, versus 22.9%, when included.

Monday’s top analyst calls were in shares of Amazon.com, Caterpillar, Exxon Mobil, Honeywell, Lululemon Athletica, Merck, Petrobras, Under Armour and many more.

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