Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: First Solar, On Semiconductor, Occidental Petroleum, Palo Alto Networks, Twitter, Ulta Beauty and More

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The futures were modestly lower Tuesday morning as traders looked to extend the sharp rally that started last Friday on the back of some outstanding economic numbers. With tariffs and the looming specter of a trade war hanging over the markets, it’s a good bet that many investors are closely watching for news out of Washington to see just exactly what direction the administration will take.

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. Other analyst calls 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 Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

Axa Equitable Inc. (NYSE: EQH) was started with a Buy rating and a $26 price target at Merrill Lynch. The stock saw a plethora of initiations yesterday as the quiet period after the May IPO ended. The stock has traded in a range of $19.50 to $22.50 since the deal was priced in May. The stock closed trading on Monday at $21.68.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch. The 52-week trading range for the stock is $35.33 to $81.72. The consensus price target is set at $79.50. The shares closed Monday at $61.74, down over 6%, and it was down again in premarket action.

Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) was raised to Market Perform from Underperform at Bernstein. The 52-week trading range for the oil services company is $22.99 to $37.67. The consensus price objective is set at $42.26, and the stock ended trading Monday at $34.70.

On Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: ON) saw its price target raised to $31 from $28 at Craig Hallum. The analysts noted in the call that ON is the leading supplier of imaging solutions for ADAS/autonomous driving and continues to invest heavily to sustain that lead. The Wall Street consensus price target is $26.26, and the 52-week trading range is $13.65 to $27.10. The stock closed Monday at $26.20.

Okta Inc. (NASDAQ: OKTA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham. The stock has had a huge run over the past month, up almost 30%, and the company will report earnings this week. The Needham call looks like a valuation play as the shares have hit the firm’s $58 price objective. The consensus target price is $47.06, and the stock closed Monday at $57.36.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: PANW) saw its price target raised to $222 from $220 at BMO Capital Markets, as the company posted solid numbers and announced a change in the CEO slot. Both Jefferies and JPMorgan raised their price targets on the security software leader to $239. These new targets compare with the current consensus figure of $205.09. Yesterday, the shares were on a roller-coaster, as the stock opened at a new all-time high before quickly dropping 15 points, but the stock pared most of those losses by the end of the session and closed at $209.09.

Take Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets. The 52-week trading range for the video gaming publishing giant is $70.39 to $129.95, and the consensus price target is $131.40. The stock closed trading on Monday at $113.68.

Twitter Inc. (NASDAQ: TWTR) saw it price target raised to $45 from $40 at Cascend Securities. That compares with the consensus target of $31. It also was announced that Twitter will be replacing Monsanto in the S&P 500 index. The 52-week trading range is $15.67 to $37.49, and the consensus price target is $31. The stock closed Monday at $37.88, up over 3% on the day, and traded higher in Tuesday’s premarket action.