Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: American Express, Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco, Kraft Heinz, Micron, Twitter, UnitedHealth, Vale, Visa and More

September 17, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated to open marginally lower after news that President Trump is set to enact more tariffs against China. U.S. equity indexes remain very close to all-time highs, while most international markets are not close to theirs. One issue that must be considered is that investors have seen less upside from buying on market pullbacks than in prior years. Investors also need to be considering how they want to have their investments positioned for the rest of 2018.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week to find new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, but some of them 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, September 17, 2018.

Alliance Data Systems Corp. (NYSE: ADS) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $290 price objective at Merrill Lynch.

American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Stephens. Amex shares were indicated up 0.8% at $110.50 on Monday after a 0.8% gain on Friday. The consensus target price was $111.80, and the 52-week trading range is $86.95 to $110.01.

Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) was started as Outperform and the price target was set at $318 (versus a $270.78 prior close) at Cowen.

Aramark Corp. (NYSE: ARMK) was started as Outperform and assigned a $52 price target at Bernstein.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) was raised to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James. Shares were up 3% at $18.07 on Friday’s close and indicated up another 1.6% at $18.35 on Monday. The prior consensus target price was $17.82.

Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI) was started as Outperform and the target price was set at $240 (versus a $195.11 close) at Cowen. Cigna had a consensus target price of $223.06.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was maintained as Overweight by JPMorgan, but Barclays downgraded it to Equal Weight from Overweight. Shares closed down 2.4% at $235.38 on Friday and were indicated down 0.8% more at $233.50 on Monday. The consensus target price was $232.41.

Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: PLAY) was reiterated as Buy and the target price was raised to $72 from $65 (versus a $62.05 close) at Canaccord Genuity. BMO Capital Markets reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target price to $70 from $64.

Federated Investors Inc. (NYSE: FII) was raised to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan.

Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform but the price target was raised to $44 from $38 (versus a $41.90 close) at BMO Capital Markets.

Kraft Heinz Co. (NASDAQ: KHC) was started as Underweight and assigned a $52 price target (versus a $58.97 close) at Morgan Stanley. The stock was indicated down almost 1% at $58.40 on Monday, within a 52-week range of $54.11 to $82.48 and with a consensus target price of $68.48.

LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (NYSE: LYB) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was maintained as Market Perform and the target price was cut to $45 from $63 at BMO Capital Markets. Deutsche Bank maintained its Buy rating on Micron but lowered its target to $60 from $80.

Redfin Corp. (NASDAQ: RDFN) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $20 price target at Macquarie.

Revance Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: RVNC) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $71 from $68 at Macquarie.

Sprout’s Farmers Market Inc. (NASDAQ: SFM) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight with a $30 target (versus a $28.22 close) at Barclays.

Titan Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: TMDI) was started as Outperform and assigned a $6 price target (versus a $1.92 close) at Northland Securities. It has a 52-week range of $1.70 to $7.75 and a mere $41 million market cap.

Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) was maintained with a Sell rating but its price target was lowered to $21 from $23 at MoffattNathanson, citing the cost of growth set to rise in 2018 and into 2019 with lower margin expectations. Twitter was indicated down 2.8% at $29.25 on Monday, after closing down 0.9% at $30.12 on Friday. The consensus target price is $33.87, and the 52-week range is $16.57 to $47.79.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) was started as Outperform and assigned a $308 price target (versus a $265.31 close) at Cowen.

Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) was downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform and the target price was cut to $11 from $12 at RBC Capital Markets.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) was maintained as Buy but was removed from the prized Conviction Buy list at Goldman Sachs. Visa was indicated down 0.5% at $147.10 on Monday, with a consensus target price of $160.10.

Friday’s top analyst calls were in Adobe, Corning, Costco, GrubHub, Kroger, Micron, Shopify, SLM, Walmart, Yelp and about a dozen more.

I'm interested in the Newsletter