Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AXA Equitable, Dollar General, Five Below, Macy’s, SM Energy, Trade Desk, Whirlpool and More

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The futures traded higher again this Monday morning as investors continue to digest the recent string of positive economic numbers, not the least of which was the very strong nonfarm payroll report posted last Friday, with unemployment dropping to a stunningly low 3.8%. The nonfarm numbers, combined with a strong purchasing managers report on Thursday, lit the fire that fueled the big rally.

Some investors are reconsidering what the nine-year bull market may bring for the rest of 2018 and beyond. It has become clear that the multiyear trend of buying pullbacks is now more vulnerable to sellers, volatility and each major news headline. Many investors are finding it harder 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 to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of the top analyst reports cover stocks to buy. Others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Additional color and commentary have been added on some of these daily analyst calls. The consensus analyst price target data are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Monday, June 4, 2018.

AXA Equitable Holdings Inc. (NYSE: EQH) recently had a gigantic IPO, and numerous top firms initiated coverage on Monday morning. Among them, RBC Capital Markets has an Outperform rating and a $25 target. JPMorgan also has a $25 price target but begin coverage with a Neutral rating. Morgan Stanley rates the stock Overweight, while Barclay’s starts coverage with an Equal Weight rating. Goldman Sachs starts the company with a Buy rating. The stock has traded between $19.00 and $22.50 a share since the deal was priced in May. They closed Friday at $21.54.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Gordon Haskett. The 52-week trading range for the discount retailer is $65.97 to $105.82. The consensus price target is $108.66. The stock ended trading Friday up over 2% to $89.26.

Five Below Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVE) was started with an Overweight rating and an $87 price target at JPMorgan. The consensus price target is $78.75, and shares ended trading last Friday at $71.39.

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) was raised to a Buy rating from Neutral at Evercore ISI. Its 52-week trading range is $17.41 to $36. The consensus price target is $34.14, and the stock ended trading on Friday at $35.56.

MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs. The 52-week trading range for the insurance giant is $43.38 to $55.91, and the posted consensus price target is $54.50. The shares closed last Friday at $46.66.

Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE: PRU) was raised to Buy from Hold with a price target of $117 at Goldman Sachs. The consensus target price is $121.75. The stock closed trading Friday at $98.84, up 2% on the day, and shares traded higher in Monday’s premarket as well.

SM Energy Inc. (NYSE: SM) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse. The 52-week trading range is $12.29 to $28.80, and the posted consensus price target is $30.05. The shares closed trading on Friday at $23.19, down a whopping 11.5%.

Trade Desk Inc. (NASDAQ: TTD) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo. The 52-week trading range is $40.70 to $91.37. The consensus price target is set at $77.20. The shares closed on Friday at $86.64, so this could be a valuation call.