Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Starbucks, Splunk, PayPal, L Brands, Medtronic, Gap, Novartis and More

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The broad markets were looking soft ahead of the open on Friday, although hopefully not too soft as the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 are looking to close out the week with a marginal gain. This week has seen its ups and downs, whether it was the result of a post-FOMC minutes recovery or the president canceling his summit with North Korea. The trend of buying the dips has not worked as well as it has in prior years, and many investors have been considering how they want their investments 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 have been added on most of the daily analyst reports. The consensus analyst price targets mentioned 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, May 25, 2018.

8×8 Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) was maintained as Buy at Canaccord Genuity and assigned a price target of $105, compared with a prior close of $22.05.

Five Below Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVE) was maintained as Buy at Deutsche Bank and assigned a price target of $84 (versus a $73.19 close).

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) was maintained as Hold at Deutsche Bank and assigned a $33 price target (versus a $32.95 close).

Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) was maintained as Neutral at Buckingham Research and assigned a price target of $32 (versus a $35.42 close).

Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. (NYSE: HPP) was started as a Buy at Merrill Lynch.

L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) was maintained as Overweight at Morgan Stanley and assigned a price target of $56 (versus a $35.22 close).

Medtronic PLC (NYSE: MDT) was maintained as Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley and assigned a price target of $95 (versus an $86.99 close).

Novartis A.G. (NYSE: NVS) was upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Nutanix Inc. (NASDAQ: NTNX) was maintained as Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley and assigned a $55 price target (versus a $55.36 close).

PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) was maintained as Outperform at Wedbush and assigned a $90 price target (versus an $81.55 close). Stifel upgraded PayPal to Buy from Hold as well.

Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST) was maintained as Buy at Deutsche Bank and assigned a $91 price target (versus an $82.96 close).

Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) was started as Outperform at Wedbush and assigned a $124 price target (versus a $116.31 close). The firm noted that Splunk delivered a strong top-line beat and guidance raise, with license and cloud revenue growing over 40% in its most recent quarter. However, it doesn’t stop there, as a few other analysts weighed in on Splunk as well. Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating with a $130 price target. JMP Securities maintained a Market Perform rating with a $120 price target. And Morgan Stanley maintained an Equal Weight rating with a price target of $109.

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) was started as Neutral at Wedbush and assigned a $58 price target (versus a $57.68 close). The firm no longer sees risks to fiscal 2019 expectations and long-term management targets. The firm also does not expect near-term drivers of positive revisions to materialize.

Thursday’s top analyst calls included Broadcom, Deere, Generac, McDermott, NetApp, NRG Energy, Petrobras, Teva Pharmaceutical, Tiffany and many more.

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