Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Cree, Goldman Sachs, Home Depot, IBM, Lennar, Lowe’s, NetApp, Netflix, Starbucks, United Continental and More

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Stocks were indicated lower on Wednesday morning after Tuesday’s massive snapback rally. The stock market’s all-time highs are still within striking distance, but investors have seen lower upside from buying immediately after the big market pullbacks in 2018 than in prior years. And in earnings season they also are hearing the financial media referring more often to a “peak cycle” with the strong earnings. Now investors have to consider how they want 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 others 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 Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) was raised to Buy from Hold and the target price was raised to $47 from $40 (versus a $33.28 prior close, after a 4.7% gain on the day) at Deutsche Bank. American Airlines has a consensus target price of $48.69 and its 52-week range is $30.75 to $59.08.

Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: BIO) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $350 target price (versus a $289.31 close, after a 4.1% gain) at Goldman Sachs. It had a consensus target price of $348.00.

Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA) was maintained as Outperform but the price target was cut to $100 from $108 (versus an $83.90 close) at BMO Capital Markets.

Cree Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) was maintained as Buy with a lowered price target to $58 from $60 at Canaccord Genuity, and Nomura/Instinet maintained a Neutral rating while lowering its target to $40 from $44. These are post-earnings calls, and Cree was up 7.2% at $37.54 on Tuesday, but shares were indicated down 1% at $37.15 on Wednesday. Its prior consensus target price was $46.90.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) was raised to Buy from Hold and the target price was raised to $60 from $53 (versus a $53.11 close, after a 2.4% gain) at Deutsche Bank. Delta has a consensus target price of $67.33, and its 52-week high is $60.79.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) managed to close up 3% at $221.70 after earnings on Tuesday. BMO Capital Markets maintained it as Market Perform but raised the price target to $276 from $261. Goldman Sachs has a consensus target price of $275.39.

Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the target was lowered to $204 from $224 at Credit Suisse. Home Depot shares closed up 1.2% at $193.58 on Tuesday and were indicated down 1.3% at $191.00 on Wednesday.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was up 2.8% ahead of earnings, but the post-earnings indications on Wednesday showed the shares down 4.5% at $138.50. IBM was maintained as Market Perform at BMO, with a target cut to $164 from $172. Wedbush Securities maintained its Neutral call and $185 price target due to its growth areas lacking consistent and accelerating growth to get the company out from under its IT-services cloud. Two key takes on IBM: Full Analyst Montage and also Should Ginni Rometty finally be fired?

Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) was downgraded to Neutral and the target price was cut to $45 from $55 (versus a $44.10 close) at Credit Suisse.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the target price was cut to $111 from $115 at Credit Suisse. The shares closed up 1.25% at $105.98 on Tuesday, but they were indicated down 1.7% at $104.19 on Wednesday.

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