Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: BofA, Caterpillar, Chevron, CSX, Kimberly-Clark, Nautilus, Netflix, Signet, Valero and More

January 18, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated to open higher on renewed trade hopes on Friday. Still, the Dow Jones industrials had rebounded more than 1,500 points from the lows of January 3. 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 Friday, January 18, 2019.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised up to $33 from $29 (versus a $28.99 prior close) at Jefferies. The consensus target price was $32.22, and the 52-week trading range is $22.66 to $33.05.

BB&T Corp. (NYSE: BBT) was reiterated with a Buy rating and with the same $60 target price (versus a $48.28 close) at Argus.

CarMax Inc. (NYSE: KMX) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the price target was lowered to $60 from $70 (versus a $64.56 close) at Wedbush Securities, with the firm noting that costs and execution risks are on the rise.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) was maintained as Outperform at Credit Suisse, but the firm lowered its price target to $173 from $183 after its dealer surveys showed that 85% of the dealers are calling for demand to be flat to up 5% while 15% are forecasting flat to down 5%.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) was raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS. Chevron closed at $111.96 in a 52-week range of $100.22 to $132.67. The consensus target price is $138.16.

CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) was reiterated as Buy with a $71 price target (versus a $65.09 close) at Argus. The independent research firm believes that its new CEO should be substantially lowering the company’s cost structure and that the recent $5 billion stock buyback campaign should signal confidence in its outlook.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price objective was raised to $190 from $180 (versus a $159.11 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Fastenal Co. (NASDAQ: FAST) was reiterated as Buy with a $64 price target (versus a $57.34 close) at Argus, with the firm noting that it expects positive momentum to continue and that the three recent dividend hikes signal confidence in its outlook.

Fiserv Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) was raised to Outperform from Perform with an $88 price target (versus a $74.50 close) at Oppenheimer.

Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (NYSE: IPG) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform and the price target was lowered to $24 from $28 (versus a $22.34 close) at RBC Capital Markets. Shares were indicated down 4.5% at $21.35 on Friday, and the prior consensus target price was $25.77.

Joint Corp. (NASDAQ: JYNT) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $10 price target (versus an $8.10 close) at D.A. Davidson.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $129 target price (versus a $114.37 close) at JPMorgan. It has a consensus target price of $106.94 and a 52-week range of $97.10 to $123.50.

Nautilus Inc. (NYSE: NLS) was seeing its shares battered by over 40% lower to around $6.85 on Friday after guidance was lowered, which will be under the prior 52-week low of $10.04. B. Riley FBR lowered its rating down to Neutral from Buy but slashed its target price to $10 from $21.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) traded lower (about 2% to $346.00) after earnings and net subscriber addition guidance, but the shares had traded up handily ahead of earnings and then again after its price hikes. Morgan Stanley reiterated its Overweight rating and raised its target price to $450 from $430, and Pivotal Research reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $500 from $480. Wedbush has maintained its Underperform rating yet again, but it did raise its price target to $165 from $150.

ONEOK Inc. (NYSE: OKE) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $72 price target (versus a $61.90 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Its consensus price target was $70.17.

PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $106 price target (versus a $107.36 close) at JPMorgan.

Provention Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: PRVB) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $7.50 price target (versus a $2.22 close) at H.C. Wainwright.

Primerica Inc. (NYSE: PRI) was started as Outperform and assigned a $135 price target at Credit Suisse. The firm sees it covering an underserved middle market opportunity with limited balance sheet risk and attractive valuation.

Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE: SIG) was down 24% at $25.13 after earnings. Citigroup has now downgraded the stock to Sell from Neutral after the move, and the shares looked to be putting in a new 52-week low of $24.90 in premarket trading.

Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. NYSE: SPB) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price objective was raised to $65 from $50 at Merrill Lynch.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow Research. It closed up 2.8% at $21.22 on Thursday and has a consensus target price of $31.06.

Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie. The stock closed up almost 2% at $80.49 ahead of the call and was indicated up almost 1% more, with a prior consensus target price of $110.53.

York Water Co. (NASDAQ: YORW) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $35 price target (versus a $31.27 close) at Janney. The firm sees York’s geographic positioning, a constructive regulatory environment, opportunities for acquisitions and infrastructure investments driving earnings growth.

Zscaler Inc. (NASDAQ: ZS) was reiterated a Outperform and the price target was raised to $53 from $48 at Wedbush, noting major tailwinds and a product portfolio heading into the next 12 to 18 months.

Merrill Lynch says investors could profit mightily off of top life insurers!

Thursday’s top analyst calls were included Alcoa, Cars.com, CVS, Electronic Arts, Halliburton, PNC, Salesforce.com, Walgreens, UnitedHealth and many more. Wednesday’s top analyst calls were in Apache, Caesars, Dell, Devon Energy, HPE, NetApp, Nordstrom, MetLife, Snap and many more.

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