Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Baker Hughes, Conagra, Facebook, GE, Halliburton, Petrobras, Schlumberger, Vodafone, Walmart and More

October 8, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were looking to open lower on Monday, but it was expected to be a fairly quiet day with the Columbus Day holiday keeping part of the banking system closed. U.S. equity indexes are just under all-time highs, but investors have been seeing lower upside from buying on market pullbacks than in prior years. Now the investing community has to consider how they want to position their investments for the rest of 2018 and into 2019.

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 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, October 8, 2018.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised to $81 from $77 (versus a $71.58 prior close) at JPMorgan.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $265 from $230 at Citigroup. Apple shares were last seen trading at $221.75, and they have a 52-week range of $150.24 to $233.47 and with a consensus target price of $234.77.

Baker Hughes, a GE Company (NYSE: BHGE) was maintained as Buy but the price target was cut to $40 from $44 at HSBC. Baker Hughes shares were last seen trading at $31.53, in a 52-week range of $25.53 to $37.76 and with a consensus target price of $37.70.

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised to $592 from $541 at JPMorgan.

Cabot Corp. (NYSE: CBT) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $76 price target at Barclays.

Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $40 from $38 at UBS.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was maintained as Outperform but the price target was cut to $210 from $225 at Credit Suisse, but the firm noted that its channel checks with advertisers are indicating slower-than-expected ad budget growth. Facebook shares were last seen trading at $155.07, in a 52-week range of $149.02 to $218.62 and with a consensus target price of $209.19.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays, and the firm even sees upside to $20 on the backside of lowered guidance and cutting its dividend under new CEO Larry Culp. GE shares were last seen trading at $13.52, in a 52-week range of $11.21 to $24.15 and with a consensus target price of $16.61.

Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) was maintained as Buy but the price target was cut to $51 from $56 at HSBC. Haliburton shares were last seen trading at $41.53, in a 52-week range of $35.75 to $57.86 and with a consensus target price of $51.50.

Huntsman Corp. (NYSE: HUN) was started with an Underweight rating and assigned a $29 price target at Barclays.

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray.

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Kimberly-Clark Co. (NYSE: KMB) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was cut to $119 at Goldman Sachs. Kimberly-Clark shares were last seen trading at $113.00, in a 52-week range of $97.10 to $123.77 and with a consensus target price of $106.82.

Medtronic PLC (NYSE: MDT) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $120 at Argus. Medtronic shares were last seen trading at $96.79, in a 52-week range of $76.41 to $100.15 and with a consensus target price of $103.15.

OnDeck Capital Inc. (NYSE: ONDK) was raised to Neutral from Sell at BTIG.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised to $17 from $14 (versus a $13.91 close) at JPMorgan. Merrill Lynch also reiterated its Buy rating and raised its price objective to $20 from $17. The American depositary shares were indicated up 13% at $15.75 on Monday in New York trading on the heels of Brazil election news.

Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) was maintained as Hold and the price target was cut to $66 from $70 at HSBC. Schlumberger shares were last seen trading at $62.30, in a 52-week range of $59.25 to $80.35 and with a consensus target price of $74.82.

Taylor Morrison Home Corp. (NYSE: TMHC) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities.

Vodafone Group PLC (NASDAQ: VOD) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the overseas price target was cut to 165p from 240p (versus 157p locally) at Jefferies. Vodafone American depositary shares down 2.3% at $20.58 in early trading indications. Vodafone was last seen trading at $20.48, in a 52-week range of $20.44 to $32.75 and with a consensus target price of $25.83.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was reiterated as Neutral but the price target was raised to $108 from $103 at JPMorgan. Walmart shares were last seen trading at $93.76, in a 52-week range of $79.40 to $109.98 and with a consensus target price of $104.11.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Capital One. Whiting Petroleum shares were last seen trading at $46.73, in a 52-week range of $18.56 to $56.47 and with a consensus analyst target of $59.25.

Willis Towers Watson PLC (NYSE: WLTW) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

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