Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alibaba, Altria, Autodesk, Hormel, HP, Netflix, Tandem Diabetes, Turtle Beach and More

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Stocks were indicated to open higher after a very mixed week of trading, but all ears will be on Federal Reserve Chair Powell speaking in Jackson Hole on Friday for any comments about the interest rate outlook. Despite the strong earnings season being all but over and despite the all-time highs in the S&P 500 this week, investors have seen less reward in 2018 in buying every dip than they had been used to in recent years. Now investors are deciding 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. The goal is to find new investing and trading ideas for our readers. Some of the daily 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 Friday, August 24, 2018.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) was down almost 3.2% at $172.33 on Thursday after earnings created a mixed trading day. UBS maintained it as Buy but trimmed the price target to $245 from $250. KeyBanc Capital Markets maintained its Overweight rating but lowered its target to $229 from $235. Argus maintained its Buy rating but took its target down to $235 from $275. Alibaba has a 52-week trading range of $164.25 to $211.70.

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $61 price target (versus a $59.82 prior close) at Jefferies. This call had shares down almost 1% at $59.30 just a day after Altria announced a dividend hike.

Asbury Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: ABG) was started as Hold and assigned a $78 target price (versus a $75.75 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) was down 0.5% at $136.31 ahead of earnings and was indicated up almost 10% at $148.75 after posting strong earnings and guidance. Barclays reiterated the stock as Overweight and raised the target price to $166 from $152, while Wedbush Securities maintained it as Neutral but raised the target was $145 from $137.

AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN) was started with a Hold rating and assigned a $48 target price (versus a $46.38 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Berry Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ: BRY) was started as Outperform with an $18 price target (versus a $14.03 close) at Evercore ISI.

Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays, a day after its shares slid 3% to $37.33. The 52-week range is $29.75 to $39.15.

HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) closed up almost 0.6% at $24.63 ahead of earnings on Thursday and was indicated down almost 3% at $23.90 on Friday. Morgan Stanley maintained HP as Equal Weight but raised the price target to $29 from $29. Maxim Group reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target price to $29 from $28.

L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley. KeyBanc Capital Markets maintained its Underweight rating but cut its target price to $25 from $28.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $410 target price (versus a $339.17 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Penske Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: PAG) was started as Buy and assigned a $60 target price (versus a $51.95 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

SecureWorks Corp. (NASDAQ: SCWX) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with an $11 price target (versus a $13.55 close) at UBS. It has a 52-week trading range of $7.83 to $15.88.

Tandem Diabetes Care Inc. (NASDAQ: TNDM) was raised to Neutral from Underperform with a $45 price objective (versus a $38.61 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Turtle Beach Corp. (NASDAQ: HEAR) was reiterated as Outperform with a $42 price target (versus a $27.95 close) at Wedbush. The firm sees Turtle Beach continuing to enjoy substantial market growth and market share gains, and it also sees improved operational efficiencies further boosting earnings.

WMIH Corp. (NYSE: WMIH) was started with an Underweight rating and assigned a $1.25 price target (versus a $1.61 close) at Piper Jaffray. This equivalent of a Sell rating was just started as Outperform with a $1.90 price target at Wedbush the prior day.

Thursday’s top analyst calls included Aetna, Analog Devices, Lowe’s, Merck, Pfizer, Plug Power, Qualcomm, Target and many more.

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