Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Akamai, Apple, AutoZone, Dropbox, EA, Ford, Kinder Morgan, Pandora, P&G, Shopify and More

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The major equity indexes were looking for direction on Wednesday morning ahead of the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates. Earnings season is still going strong, with dozens of household company names reporting earnings each day. Investors have had less success buying the all the stock market dips in 2018 than in prior years. Many investors are also reconsidering how they want their investments positioned ahead of the midterm elections and with international trade concerns.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week to find new investing and trading ideas. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy and some cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Additional commentary has been added on most of the daily analyst reports, along with trading history. The consensus analyst price targets 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 Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with an $80 price target at Deutsche Bank. Akamai closed down three cents at $75.26 on Tuesday ahead of earnings, and the reaction to earnings had shares down 5% at $71.50 on Wednesday morning.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was last seen trading up 4.1% at $198.15 on Wednesday morning after its earnings and guidance pleased investors. Apple was maintained as Hold at Deutsche Bank, but the price target was raised to $175 from $165.

AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $805 from $675 (versus a $705.53 prior close) at Deutsche Bank.

Capital Senior Living Corp. (NYSE: CSU) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $10 price objective (versus a $9.98 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Dropbox Inc. (NASDAQ: DBX) was raised to Buy from Hold at Jefferies. Dropbox closed down 3.6% at $26.77 on Tuesday, but its shares were indicated up by 3.6% at $27.74 on Wednesday.

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) was raised to Buy from Hold at Argus. The shares closed at $129.10 on Tuesday, in a 52-week trading range of $99.63 to $151.26. Its consensus target price is close to $154.50.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) was maintained as Overweight but the price target was cut to $15 from $16 at Morgan Stanley. Ford closed down 0.3% at $10.04 on Tuesday, and the automaker’s shares have a 52-week range of $9.84 to $13.48.

Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

Janus Henderson Group PLC (NYSE: JHG) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $31 price target (versus a $32.55 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $23 from $21 at Stifel.

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) was up after earnings by 14% at $7.70 on Wednesday after earnings. RBC Capital Markets raised its rating to Outperform from Sector Perform with a $10 price target.

Papa John’s International Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $58 price target (versus a $41.96 close) at Jefferies.

Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) was maintained as Hold at Deutsche Bank, but the price target was raised to $84 from $81. Morgan Stanley maintained its Equal Weight rating and raised its target to $85 from $80. Shares closed up almost 1% at $80.88 on Tuesday and were flat on Wednesday’s early trading indications.

Sanofi S.A. (NYSE: SNY) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at BNP Paribas in overseas coverage.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRPT) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $163 price target (versus a $116.24 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $145 price target (versus a $138.21 close) at Piper Jaffray. Morgan Stanley maintained its Equal Weight rating and raised its target on Shopify to $151 from $140.

Universal Health Services Inc. (NYSE: UHS) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $125 price target (versus a $122.10 close) at BMO Capital Markets.

Venator Materials PLC (NYSE: VNTR) was downgraded to Underperform from Buy with a $12 price objective (versus a $14.62 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Tuesday’s top analyst calls were in Athenahealth, Illumina, Northrop Grumman, Square, Twitter, Yamana Gold and many more.