Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: BHP, Cisco, Crown Castle, Gilead, Goldcorp, Take-Two, Varonis, Whiting Petroleum and More

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Stocks were indicated higher on Tuesday morning on reports that lawmakers have reached a deal to avert another partial government shutdown. While the Dow Jones industrial average is going to be about 2,500 points above its lows in early January, investors have become used to seeing less upside chasing every sell-off and pullback. Investors also need to be considering how they want their assets positioned for 2019 and beyond.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week 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 Tuesday, February 12, 2019.

BHP Group Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs. The American depositary shares (ADSs) closed up 0.4% at $50.90 on Monday, with a consensus target price of $49.20 and a 52-week trading range of $43.10 to $52.62.

Ceco Environmental Corp. (NASDAQ: CECE) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $9.50 target price (versus a $6.99 close) at B. Riley FBR.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight and its price target was lowered to $49 from $51 (versus a $47.58 prior close) at Morgan Stanley. The consensus analyst target is $52.64, and the 52-week trading range is $40.19 to $49.47.

Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLR) was started as Overweight and assigned a $52 price target (versus a $44.23 close) at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie. Shares closed at $118.44 and have a consensus target price of $118.50.

Elanco Animal Health Inc. (NYSE: ELAN) was started with a Market Perform rating at William Blair.

Evergy Inc. (NYSE: EVRG) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $62 price objective (versus a $58.07 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Fastenal Co. (NASDAQ: FAST) was downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) closed up 0.2% at $67.62 on Monday but was indicated down 3% at $65.55 on Tuesday after disappointing news on a fatty liver drug. Wells Fargo downgraded it to Market Perform from Outperform and cut the target to $68 from $89. Citigroup downgraded Gilead to Neutral from Buy and cut its target to $75 from $100.

Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE: GG) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ICPT) was reiterated as Outperform with a $167 price target (versus a $117.34 close) at Credit Suisse, with the firm noting that Gilead’s selonsertib failure to improve fibrosis removes the largest competitive threat for Ocaliva.

MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) was reiterated as Buy at Argus, with the independent research firm noting that the pullback offers a favorable entry point.

NuVasive Inc. (NASDAQ: NUVA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. The ADSs were down 0.4% on Monday but were indicated up 0.5% at $56.08 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $44.62 to $60.72.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets. After falling 3.8% to $93.44 on Monday, its shares were indicated down another 3% at $90.50 on Tuesday. The 52-week range is $91.49 to $139.91, and the consensus target price was $136.52.

Varonis Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: VRNS) was up almost 2% at $63.96 on Monday, but it traded down over 22% at $49.50 on Tuesday after earnings. JMP Securities downgraded the shares to Market Perform from Outperform, and Stifel downgraded its Buy rating to Hold. Also, Benchmark downgraded Varonis to Hold from Buy, and Craig-Hallum downgraded it to Hold from Buy. Wedbush Securities maintained a Neutral rating while lowering its target to $55 from $58. The consensus target price is $73.64, and the 52-week trading range is $48.67 to $83.10.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $33 price target (versus a $26.67 close) at KeyBanc Capital Markets. It has a 52-week range of $18.37 to $56.47 and a consensus target price of $42.17.

Monday’s top analyst calls included Avis Budget, Bed Bath & Beyond, Canadian Solar, CBS, Electronic Arts, Goodyear, Nvidia, Tesla, Watts Water and many more.

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