Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alcoa,, CVS, Electronic Arts, Halliburton, PNC, Salesforce, Walgreens, UnitedHealth and More

Stocks were indicated lower on Thursday, now that the Dow Jones industrials have rebounded over 1,500 points from the lows of January 3. The markets also are paying homage to the Vanguard’s Jack Bogel after the father of index funds passed away. Investors have noticed that the prevailing trend of buying the dips generally has been followed by less upside or additional losses, and the volatility late in 2018 shook the confidence of many investors over how to position their assets for 2019 and beyond.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is 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 were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday, January 17, 2019.

Aegon N.V. (NYSE: AEG) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup. Its American depositary shares were up 2.4% to $5.09 on Wednesday but were indicated down almost 2% at $5.00 on Thursday morning.

Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA) was maintained as Outperform buy the price target was lowered to $40 from $50 at Credit Suisse, with the firm noting that it looks cheap on its asset values but there is little free cash flow to drive higher capital returns. Alcoa’s prior consensus target price was $45.71.

AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE: ABC) was started with a Buy rating and assigned an $89 target price (versus a $77.30 prior close) at UBS.

Autoliv Inc. (NYSE: ALV) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the target price was lowered to $80 from $97 (versus a $77.64 close) at Mizuho.

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) was maintained as Buy with a $535 price target (versus a $413.04 close) at Argus, with the firm noting that it has lowered its 2019 EPS estimate due to sluggish early-year assets under management and inflows/outflows. Inc. (NYSE: CARS) was down 1% at $23.16 on Wednesday but was up 11% at $25.75 on Thursday after news that it was exploring strategic alternatives (including a possible sale) after Starboard Value took a stake in the online car retailer. Craig-Hallum raised its rating to Buy from Hold.

Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $54 from $50 at Credit Suisse, with the firm highlighting organic growth, operating leverage and capital returns all leading to raised earnings estimates.

Covia Holdings Corp. (NYSE: CVIA) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen.

CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $75 target price (versus a $63.92 close) at UBS.

Embraer S.A. (NYSE: ERJ) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair.

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the price target was slashed to $95 from $139 (versus an $89.92 close) at Jefferies. The shares had a consensus target price of $120.35 ahead of this, and the 52-week trading range is $73.91 to $151.26.

Five Prime Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: FPRX) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $16 price target (versus a $10.04 close) at Wedbush Securities. The firm noted that it now sees more favorable risk/reward after a recent decline ahead of multiple catalysts in 2019 and as the company focuses its efforts on developing its broad pipeline. This stock is down from a 52-week high of $22.85.

Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform but the target price was lowered to $35 from $45 (versus a $30.36 close) at Cowen.

Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL) was downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets.

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