Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Altbaba, AutoDesk, AutoZone, CBS, Eli Lilly, Lululemon, Michael’s, Target and More

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The futures traded down big on Thursday morning but were off the lows as investors digest the massive record Wednesday rally on Wall Street. Incredible retail numbers were posted on Wednesday that included online shopping rising a stunning 19% year over year, and total U.S. holiday spending increased 5.1%, the largest jump in six years.

One trend that has been impossible to ignore in 2018 and during 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 color and commentary also have been added on some of these daily analyst calls. The consensus analyst price target data are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Thursday, December 27, 2018.

Altaba Inc. (NASDAQ: AABA) was raised to Buy from Hold at Morningstar Research. The 52-week trading range for the company, which has a large position in Alibaba Inc. (NASDAQ: BABA), has been $54.75 to $82.45. The Wall Street consensus price target is $80. The stock ended trading on Wednesday at $57.90.

Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) saw its price target lowered to $131 from $146 at Wedbush, which cited last week’s acquisition of PlanGrid & Building Connected. The new price target compares with a consensus target of $165.35. The shares closed Wednesday’s trading at $125.93.

AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) saw its price target raised to $870 from $800 at Morgan Stanley. The firm also raised its earnings estimates for the retail car parts giant for 2019. The new price target compares with the consensus target of $919.18. The stock ended trading on Wednesday at $839.06.

CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) saw its target price cut to $59 from $68 at Loop Capital. That compares with the consensus target of $65.57. Despite cutting its target, the firm noted that CBS carries the most favorable risk/reward of media companies under coverage, noting the uncertainty around the company’s CEO role, discussions around NFL rights and the possibility of a Viacom merger have driven down the CBS stock price. The shares closed Wednesday at $43.37, up over 3%, and looked higher in Thursday’s premarket.

Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) was reiterated with a Buy rating and a $135 price target at Argus. That compares with a consensus target of $117.88. The firm sees volume growth and expanded indications for existing drugs, along with potential regulatory approvals, as catalysts for growth in 2019. The stock closed Wednesday at $111.09, up over 4%.

Express Scripts Holding Co. NASDAQ: ESRX) coverage was discontinued at Oppenheimer, citing the $69 billion merger with Cigna Inc. (NYSE: CI). The analyst noted that the company’s shareholders will receive $48.75 a share in cash and 0.2434 shares of the combined company. Express Scripts was previously under coverage as Perform rated with no price target. The shares closed Wednesday at $92.23.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) was downgraded to Sell from Hold at Morningstar Research. The 52-week trading range for the yoga apparel giant is $74.90 to $164.79, and the consensus price target is $162. The stock closed Wednesday at $122.66, up over 8%, but shares traded lower in Thursday’s premarket.