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

October 11, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

Source: MicroStockHub / Getty Images
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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HCA Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: HCA) was maintained as Buy and the price target was raised to $156 from $136 (versus a $135.09 close, after a 3.2% drop) at Citigroup.

Herbalife Nutrition Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $65 price target (versus a $50.99 close) at Jefferies.

Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ) was maintained as Buy and the target price was cut to $27 from $30 (versus a $21.14 close, after a 3% drop) at Deutsche Bank.

Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE: LM) was still kept as a Buy rating but its price target was lowered to $38 from $40 (versus a $29.67 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) was reiterated as Outperform at Credit Suisse, and the firm raised its target price to $81 from $71 (versus $70.45 close, after a 2.6% drop) based on Keytruda and because of multiple options that can drive further upside. The consensus target price is $75.16.

Nasdaq Inc. (NASDAQ: NDAQ) was maintained as Buy but the exchange’s price target was lowered to $97 from $103 (versus an $81.97 close, after a 2.95% drop) at Deutsche Bank.

Nightstar Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: NITE) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $36 price target (versus a $15.03 closing price) at Cantor Fitzgerald. Its consensus target price is $34.50.

PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) was maintained as Buy at Nomura/Instinet, which lowered the target price to $103 from $120. PayPal closed down 5.7% at $75.45 on Wednesday, with a consensus target price of $98.56 and in a 52-week trading range of $66.16 to $93.70.

Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price objective was raised to $126 from $120 (versus a $115.46 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) was maintained as Neutral but the price target was cut to $35 from $50 at Wedbush. Urban Outfitters closed down 2.3% at $38.95 on Wednesday, and it has a consensus target price of $50.33. The 52-week trading range is $21.76 to $52.50.

U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SLCA) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Due to the market bias changing over the past week and after Wednesday’s big sell-off, 24/7 Wall St. has issued 10 crucial lessons (and warnings) for value stock investors in a down market.

Also, a poll has been generated to predict how high the S&P 500 can rise (or say if it has peaked) before the next bear market.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Agilent Technologies, Alibaba, CRISPR Therapeutics, Iridium Communications, McDonald’s, Myriad Genetics, Shake Shack, Take-Two Interactive Software and many more. And Tuesday’s top analyst calls were in Apple, Baker Hughes, Blackbaud, Box, CSX, Intuit, Mylan, Tesla, Vodafone, Walmart and many more.

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