Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Abercrombie, CME, Costco, DowDuPont, Gap, HCA, Herbalife, Merck, PayPal, Urban Outfitters and More

Stocks were looking to open lower on Thursday after a sharp sell-off on Wednesday took the Dow Jones industrials down 831 points and the S&P 500 down almost 95 points. That said, S&P and Dow futures bounced handily as inflation pressure in the Consumer Price Index came in softer than expectations. While the markets are still near all-time highs, investors have seen lower upside from buying immediately after the big market pullbacks in 2018 than in prior years. Now the investing community has to consider how to position their investments for the rest of the year 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 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 Thursday, October 11, 2018.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) was maintained as Neutral but the price target was cut down to $17 from $25 (versus a $19.03 prior close) at Wedbush Securities. Abercrombie has a 52-week trading range of $11.62 to $29.69 and it had a consensus target price of $22.83.

Ashford Inc. (NYSE: AINC) was raised to Buy from Neutral but the price target was lowered down to $91 from $95 (versus a $73.15 close, after a 2.6% drop) at B. Riley.

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) was maintained as Buy but the target price was lowered to $550 from $559 (versus a $426.76 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Celestica Inc. (NYSE: CLS) was raised to Outperform from Neutral Macquarie, a day after it rose 0.6% to $10.03 despite a big market sell-off. Also, Argus reiterated the stock as Hold, calling it a niche acquisition positive as of now.

CME Group Inc. (NYSE: CME) was reiterated as Buy and the target price was raised to $192 from $185 (versus a $180.25 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was reiterated as Buy with a target price of $255 (versus a $221.05 close) at Argus, with the independent research firm talking up Costco’s financial strength and ability to deliver extreme values. Shares were indicated up 0.8% at $223.00 on Thursday after releasing strong monthly same-store sales. Costco has a consensus target price of $241.58, and its 52-week trading range is $156.36 to $245.16.

DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) was maintained as Buy but the target price was lowered to $74 from $79 (versus a $59.32 close, after a 2.5% drop) at Citigroup. DowDuPont was indicated down 1.1% at $58.66 on Thursday, and it has a post-split range of $59.01 to $77.08.

Edison International (NYSE: EIX) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch, but the firm raised its price objective to $75 from $72 (versus a $70.08 close).

Esterline Technologies Corp. (NYSE: ESL) was up 30% after news that Transdigm is acquiring it. Credit Suisse raised its rating to Neutral from Underperform.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) was maintained as Neutral but the price target was cut to $25 from $32 (versus a $27.03 close) at Wedbush. The consensus target price is $32.95.

GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE: GDDY) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup. The stock closed down 6.5% at $70.79 on Wednesday during the sell-off, and its consensus price target was last seen at $83.87.

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