Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alibaba, Amazon, AVEO, Baker Hughes, Celgene, DowDuPont, Facebook, GE, Goldman Sachs, US Steel and More

February 1, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated slightly lower on Friday, but investors also should consider that the Dow Jones industrials are now more than 2,000 points higher than the lows seen at the start of January. After seeing so much volatility in late 2018, and a big pop so far in 2019, investors have to keep giving strong consideration to how they want their assets positioned the rest of this year 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, February 1, 2019.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) was reiterated as Buy at Argus with a $190 price target (versus a $168.49 prior close) after its earnings topped estimates. The firm noted that while some trade-related discount is warranted, Alibaba’s China and Asian focus means it has been sharply oversold.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) closed up almost 3% at $1,718.73 ahead of earnings, but the higher business investment and costs had shares indicated down almost 5% at $1,640 or so despite beating expectations. Wedbush Securities maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its target to $2,000 from $2,100. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating but also warned that new business investment and initiatives, along with tough comps from before, likely means that strong growth will resume at the earliest in the second quarter of 2019. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating with a $2,100 price objective, noting a mixed quarter a deceleration of the AWS strength and higher investment costs.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) was started with a Hold rating at Loop Capital.

Arrow Electronics Inc. (NYSE: ARW) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with an $80 price target (versus a $75.95 close) at Stifel.

AVEO Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AVEO) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the target price was slashed to $1 from $9 at H.C. Wainwright. That is after shares fell by 60% to $0.70 after an FDA delay in approving its submission for its kidney cancer drug.

Baker Hughes, a GE Company (NYSE: BHGE) was down 1.5% at $23.57 on Thursday, but Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its price target to $28 from $25, noting that it was standing apart after earnings.

Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight with a $72 price target (versus a $72.49 close) at Barclays. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating on Baxter and raised its target to $79 from $77 after pointing to growth in its outlook.

Celestica Inc. (NYSE: CLS) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $10 price target (versus a $9.93 close) at Macquarie. The shares were indicated down over 12% at $8.70 after an earnings miss.

Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ: CELG) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $95 price target (versus an $88.46 close) at Jefferies. Celgene has a 52-week range of $58.59 to $100.72 and a consensus target price of $102.78.

Cinemark Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CNK) was started with a Hold rating at Loop Capital.

Corcept Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CORT) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $14 price target (versus an $11.18 close) at Cantor Fitzgerald. Its shares were down 8% at $10.25 after guidance and issuing results.

Credit Acceptance Corp. (NASDAQ: CACC) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer, with the firm noting valuation risk ahead. Its shares closed down almost 4% at $398.02 on Thursday, and the prior consensus target price was $367.09.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) was started as Neutral at Wedbush.

Del Taco Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ: TACO) was maintained as Outperform with a $15 target price (versus a $10.39 close) at Wedbush, but the firm removed the restaurant chain from its Best Ideas List.

Dine Brands Global Inc. (NYSE: DIN) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $120 price target (versus a $76.99 close) at Wedbush, which noted that channel checks show upside at both Applebee’s and IHOP.

DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) was downgraded to Neutral from overweight with a $53 target price (versus a $53.81 close, after a 9.2% drop) at JPMorgan. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its price target to $68 from $79. The consensus target price was $72.63, and a 52-week trading range is $48.89 to $74.12.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was reiterated as Buy with a $206 target price at Argus, which noted that it leads the social media despite all the negative press and concerns brought up in 2008. Facebook shares closed up 10.8% at $166.69 on Thursday after the earnings report, and it has a 52-week range of $123.02 to $218.62.

Floor & Decor Holdings Inc. (NYSE: FND) was downgraded to Underperform from Buy with a $29 price objective at Merrill Lynch, a two-notch downgrade based on slowing housing trends and on slowing sales growth.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with an $11 price target at Vertical Research. GE shares closed up 11.6% at $10.16 on Thursday after earnings contained no new negative bombs that investors had been used to seeing. Credit Suisse maintained its Neutral rating but raised its target to $11, after noting that the conglomerate is keeping its message consistent.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) was downgraded to Sell from Hold at Societe Generale. Shares were down 2.2% at $198.01 on Thursday and indicated down almost 1% more on Friday. The consensus analyst target is $229.00.

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with an $81 price target (versus a $79.03 close) at BMO Capital Markets.

Meritage Homes Corp. (NYSE: MTH) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities. The firm fears that the focus on driving sales volume via lower prices and consumer incentives, while the competition wants to do the same, points to potentially more downside than upside risk to earnings and revenue estimates ahead.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) was downgraded to Sell from Hold at Societe Generale. Shares closed down 1.1% at $42.30 on Thursday with a consensus target price of $51.76.

Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) was reiterated as Buy at Argus, with the firm noting that the recent share price pullback offers a buying opportunity as shares are down about 24% from their highs. The stock closed down 1.9% at $275.55 ahead of this call, and the consensus price target is $317.05.

Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) was reiterated as Buy with a $200 price target (versus a $164.76 close, after a 3.9% drop) at Argus, with the firm noting that the defense player is on sale, with its shares down about 28% from its highs. The consensus target price is $207.89.

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was reiterated as Buy at Argus, but the firm did lower its price target to $30 from $40. U.S. Steel had a consensus target price of $30.88, and its shares closed up 1.4% at $22.54 ahead of this call.

Versum Materials Inc. (NYSE: VSM) was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $31 price target (versus a $36.77 close) at Goldman Sachs.

Thursday’s top analyst calls included Allergan, Boeing, Facebook, GoPro, Microsoft, Pfizer, Royal Dutch Shell, ServiceNow, Tiffany and many more.

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