Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alkermes, Cigna, International Paper, Medtronic, Tesla, Western Digital and More

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The futures traded higher again Wednesday morning, perhaps in part because of the fact that the Russell 2000 hit an all-time high on Tuesday. That is a move that no doubt caught the eye of many traders, as we could be seeing a shift to smaller capitalization companies after years of large caps leading the way. With a stronger dollar, small caps, with their domestic focus, could be the top play going forward.

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 Wednesday, June 6, 2018.

Alkermes PLC (NASDAQ: ALKS) was started with a Buy rating with a $60 price target at B. Riley FBR. That compares with the Wall Street consensus price objective of $55.18. The analysts noted the stock is down 16% year to date versus the benchmark, and they see the company successfully transitioning from an established drug-delivery company to one with self-marketed products driving profitability. They see Vivitrol and Aristada as attractive self-marketed growth products. The stock closed trading on Tuesday at $46.39.

Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $212 price target at Goldman Sachs. The consensus target is $216.47, and the stock closed trading on Tuesday at $170.83.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was downgraded to Market Underperform from Market Perform at JMP, which has a price target of $46. The consensus target price is $78.08. The stock closed Tuesday at $58.24, down almost 6% after a slew of downgrades Tuesday morning, and the shares were off again in Wednesday’s premarket trading.

International Paper Co. (NYSE: IP) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $67 price objective at RBC Capital Markets. That compares with the consensus price target of $65.69. The shares ended trading on Tuesday at $57.19.

Medtronic PLC (NYSE: MDT) was resumed with a Market Perform rating at William Blair. The 52-week trading range for the medical devices giant is $76.41 to $89.72. The consensus price target is $94.19, and the stock closed on Tuesday at $86.66.

Sage Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SAGE) was started with a Buy rating and a $230 price target at Ladenburg Thalmann. The consensus price target is $205, and the stock closed trading on Tuesday at $154.09.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) was reiterated as a “Fresh Pick” at Baird, along with a whopping $411 price target. The consensus price target for the electric car pioneer is much lower at $309.09. Shares closed trading on Tuesday at $291.13, down almost 2% on the day.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays. The 52-week trading range for the specialty pharmaceutical company is $10.94 to $24.43, and the consensus price target is $20.73. The stock ended trading on Tuesday at $23.59, up over 7%, and shares were up an additional 2% in premarket trading Wednesday.