Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apptio, AT&T, Bain Capital, Comerica, First Solar, Palo Alto, Pfizer, Travelers, Ulta Beauty and More

December 11, 2018 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks managed to recover handily from Monday’s losses and the futures were indicated to open higher by over 1% for the Dow Jones industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Tuesday morning. What investors have to consider is that they have seen less upside from buying immediately after the big market sell-offs than in prior years, and the market volatility has been hard to stomach in recent weeks. Investors have to be considering how they want their investments and assets positioned for 2019.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day to find new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while 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 Tuesday, December 11, 2018.

Apptio Inc. (NASDAQ: APTI) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $38 price target (versus a $37.85 prior close) at Jefferies. It has a 52-week range of $21.88 to $41.36 and a consensus target price of $36.00.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $34 price target (versus a $29.91 close) at Citigroup. AT&T had a consensus target price of $34.40, and its 52-week trading range is $28.85 to $39.33.

At Home Group Inc. (NYSE: HOME) was maintained as Overweight and the price target was lowered to $33 from $47 (versus a $20.28 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Bain Capital Specialty Finance Inc. (NYSE: BCSF) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $21 price target (versus an $18.06 close) at Janney. The firm believes that Bain can generate a 9.5% return on equity with a cost of capital of 9% for its targets.

Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) was maintained as Overweight but the price target was lowered to $39 from $53 (versus a $29.64 close) at Piper Jaffray.

Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA) was maintained as Overweight but the price target was lowered to $98 from $106 at Morgan Stanley.

Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. (NYSE: CFR) was maintained as Underweight and the price target was lowered to $99 from $103 at Morgan Stanley.

CyberArk Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYBR) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $86 price target (versus a $75.73 close) at Guggenheim. The consensus target price is $89.89, and the 52-week trading range is $40.63 to $84.21.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) was reiterated as Buy at Argus, and the independent research firm raised its price target to $42 from $40.

Fiserv Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target was raised to $92 from $78 (versus a $76.14 close) at Goldman Sachs.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) was maintained as Equal Weight and the price target was lowered to $56 from $61 (versus a $43.21 close) at Morgan Stanley. It had a consensus price target of $66.64, and its 52-week trading range is $36.51 to $81.72.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $256 target price (versus a $179.24 close) at Guggenheim. Palo Alto had a consensus target price of $248.15, and its 52-week trading range is $142.67 to $239.50.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $46 price target at JPMorgan. Pfizer has a consensus analyst target of $44.59 and a 52-week range of $33.20 to $46.47.

Proofpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: PFPT) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $110 price target (versus a $92.46 close) at Guggenheim. The consensus target price is $117.40. The 52-week trading range is $75.92 to $130.27.

Progressive Corp. (NYSE: PGR) was raised to Buy from Neutral with an $81 price target (versus a $63.65 close) at B. Riley FBR. The consensus target price is $74.50.

Principal Financial Group Inc. (NYSE: PFG) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $49 price target (versus a $42.93 close, after a 3.3% drop) at RBC Capital Markets.

Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) was raised to Buy from Hold at Jefferies. Its American depositary shares closed up 1.6% at $44.17 on Monday and were indicated up another 1.5% at $44.80 on Tuesday, compared with a consensus target price of $48.67.

Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $133 target price (versus a $123.00 close) at RBC Capital Markets. Travelers has a consensus target price of $137.00.

Tribune Media Co. (NYSE: TRCO) was downgraded to In-Line from Outperform with a $46.50 price target (versus a $45.15 close) at Evercore ISI Group.

Ulta Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) was maintained as Outperform at Oppenheimer, but the firm lowered the price target to $340 from $375 in the call. Shares closed at $251.10 on Monday and had a consensus target price of $322.48.

United Natural Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, a day after its shares fell 8% to $13.68. It had a consensus target price of $25.47, and its 52-week trading range is $13.64 to $52.55.

WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price target was lowered to $167 from $205 (versus a $152.72 close) at Goldman Sachs. The consensus target price is $206.31, and the 52-week trading range is $128.27 to $203.50.

While stocks were indicated up on Tuesday, please do not ignore the dire warnings about many analyst calls during bear markets and broad sell-offs.

Also, here are the major Wall Street firms’ price targets for the S&P 500 for 2019.

Monday’s top analyst calls included Albermarle, Capital One, Equinix, KeyCorp, Kratos, Lowe’s, Micron Technology, Skyworks Solutions, Yamana Gold and many more.

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