Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Arconic, Chipotle, GrubHub, Halliburton, Humana, Yelp and Many More

Stocks fell apart after Wednesday’s FOMC decision was viewed as less-hawkish but not dovish, although Thursday’s early losses came back to a slight positive indication for the day’s trading. One trend that has been impossible to ignore in 2018 and during the latest weeks of selling is that investors also have seen less upside from buying immediately after the big market sell-offs than in prior years. Now investors have to consider how they want to have their investments and assets positioned for 2019.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while 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 Thursday, December 20, 2018.

AGNC Investment Corp. (NASDAQ: AGNC) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with an $18 target price (versus a $17.70 prior close) at JPMorgan. This is a yield play with a payout of better than 10%. The 52-week trading range is $17.26 to $20.37, and the consensus target price is $17.75.

AnaptysBio Inc. (NASDAQ: ANAB) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $126 target price (versus a $60.54 close) at H.C. Wainwright. It has a consensus target price of $131.67 and a 52-week trading range of $59.90 to $134.00.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was maintained as Buy at Needham, but the firm joined in on the “downgrade-lite” brigade with a price target cut to $200 from $260. The Needham call is based on emerging market weakness coming from the Qualcomm iPhone dispute in China and weaker demand in India.

Arconic Inc. (NYSE: ARNC) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Longbow. Shares closed down over 4% at $17.92 on Wednesday but were indicated up almost 2% on Thursday. The consensus target price was $23.25, and the 52-week trading range is $16.47 to $31.17.

AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE: AVB) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $199 target price (versus a $180.78 close) at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight but the price target was lowered to $31 from $35 (versus a $20.80 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Camden Property Trust (NYSE: CPT) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $99 price target at Janney, with the note that Camden’s market mix and acumen makes it the firm’s favorite apartment REIT now.

Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CARA) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $27 price target (versus a $13.36 close) at Janney. The firm sees 2019 as a transformative year, with Phase 3 data of IV-Korsuva in CKD-aP.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was reiterated as Underperform with a $400 price target (versus a $427.05 close) at Wedbush Securities. The firm sees same-store sales growing in line or under estimates, and the sustained growth that is expected in 2019 to 2020 is viewed as the best-case scenario rather than a base-case one.

Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $116 price target (versus a $90.60 close, after a 3% gain) at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Douglas Emmett Inc. (NYSE: DEI) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $42 price target (versus a $34.17 close) at Janney. It had a consensus target price of $40.47.

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