Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Applied Materials, Baker Hughes, Bloom Energy, Constellation Brands, Deere, JC Penney, Kroger, Nike, Tesla and More

Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Monday, but futures were not indicating any solid directional open. Earnings season is now close to 90% of the way to its end, and over 70% of the companies exceeded expectations. Still, the stock market volatility in 2018 has created less rewarding trades by buying the dips than had been so reliable in prior years. Many investors also are trying to decide 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. Our goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of the analyst reports cover stocks to buy and some reports 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 are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Monday, August 20, 2018.

Achieve Life Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHV) was started as Buy and assigned a $12 price target at Ladenburg, representing more than 300% upside from the $2.80 close, if the call pans out. Its shares were indicated up 7% at $3.00 on Monday.

America’s Car-Mart Inc. (NASDAQ: CRMT) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Janney, and the fair value estimate was raised to $96 from $61. The firm noted that the fundamental trends appear to be sustainable and that it has a different cyclical pattern than other auto lenders.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was down 7.7% at $43.77 on Friday after the prior day’s earnings report. Nomura maintained its Buy rating but lowered its price target to $60 from $65. Citigroup maintained its Buy rating but cut its target to $68 from $73.

Baker Hughes, a G.E. Company (NYSE: BHGE) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $42 from $36 at B. Riley/FBR.

Berry Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ: BRY) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $17 price target (versus a $12.85 prior close) at UBS.

Bloom Energy Corp. (NYSE: BE) has seen its quiet period come to an end and the analysts are initiating coverage after it closed down 4% at $22.20 on Friday. Morgan Stanley started it as Overweight with a $30 price target. Merrill Lynch started it with an Underperform rating and a $19 price target, while Credit Suisse started Bloom Energy as Neutral with a $24 target. Oppenheimer started it as Perform, and Robert W. Baird started coverage as Neutral. Cowen started it as Market Perform with a $24 target.

Carbonite Inc. (NASDAQ: CARB) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $44 price target (versus a $39.40 close) at Stifel. The 52-week trading range is $18.55 to $41.25.

Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) was downgraded to Negative from Neutral with a $171 price target (versus a $203.93 close) at Susquehanna. Constellation was indicated down 2% at $199.80 on Monday, in a 52-week range of $195.96 to $236.62. This was a $221 stock before its multibillion investment into Canopy Growth last week.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) was up 2.3% at $140.59 on Friday despite an earnings report that was lackluster. Stifel maintained its Buy rating and lowered its price target to $190 from $193.

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