Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Applied Materials, CSX, Freeport-McMoRan, Frontier Communications, Lululemon, McDonald’s, T-Mobile, Ulta, Windstream and More

February 19, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated to open marginally lower on Tuesday, but the Dow Jones industrial average had risen almost 3,000 points from its lows of early January. Now investors 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. 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 Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

Advanced Disposal Services Inc. (NYSE: ADSW) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral with a $27 price objective (versus a $27.33 prior close) at Merrill Lynch. The 52-week range is $21.50 to $27.93, and the consensus price target is $28.22.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was reiterated as Buy with a $50 target price (versus a $39.10 close, after a 3.9% drop) at Argus, with the firm noting that the post-earnings reaction made the shares take a hit by weak sales forecast. It has a 52-week range of $28.79 to $62.40 and a consensus price target of $48.38.

CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform with a $78 target price (versus a $72.54 close) at RBC Capital Markets. It has a 52-week range of $53.13 to $76.24 and a consensus price target of $75.81.

Fang Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: SFUN) was downgraded to Underperform from Buy with a $1.50 price target (versus a $1.51 close, after an 11.8% gain) at Merrill Lynch. The stock was indicated down 10% at $1.35 on Tuesday.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the target price was raised to $16 from $14 (versus a $12.28 close) at Citigroup. It has a 52-week range of $9.60 to $19.74 and a consensus price target of $14.19.

Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. It closed up 11.8% at $2.65 on Friday but was indicated down 2.6% at $2.58 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $1.81 to $11.64.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HLT) was downgraded to In-Line from Outperform at Evercore ISI. The 52-week range is $63.76 to $86.44. The consensus analyst target is $86.71.

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $114 price target (versus a $119.39 close) at Canaccord Genuity. It has a 52-week range of $56.61 to $119.40 and a consensus analyst price target of $110.00.

Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM) was maintained as Underperform at Credit Suisse, with firm noting that it does not believe faster-growing data-center business will be enough to offset deteriorating fundamentals in the core business.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE: JEC) was reiterated as Buy with an $84 target price (versus a $68.72 close) at Argus. It has a 52-week range of $55.17 to $82.24 and a consensus price target of $80.13.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $157 price target (versus a $151.09 close) at Nomura/Instinet. It had a consensus target price of $162.24.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight and the price target was raised to $200 from $180 (versus a $151.09 close) at Stephens.

Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC) was downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets.

Papa John’s International Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) was downgraded to Sell from Hold and the price target was lowered to $35 from $38 (versus a $45.26 close, after a 4% gain) at Stifel. The consensus target price was $52.40.

Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE: SCCO) was raised to Buy from Sell at Citigroup. Shares closed up 3.3% at $32.50 ahead of this call, with a prior consensus target price of $35.07 and a 52-week range of $29.01 to $58.09.

Taubman Centers Inc. (NYSE: TCO) was raised to In-Line from Underperform at Evercore ISI. It has a 52-week range of $43.44 to $65.50 and a consensus price target of $56.08.

T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) was reiterated as Buy with a $78 target price (versus a $72.05 close) at Argus. It has a 52-week range of $55.09 to $72.07 and a consensus price target of $81.10.

Ulta Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $311 price target (versus a $306.36 close) at Nomura/Instinet.

Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE: WTW) was downgraded to Underweight from Neutral and the target price was lowered to $25 from $37 (versus a $30.28 close) at JPMorgan. The stock was indicated down almost 6% at $28.50 on Tuesday, and the prior consensus target price was $72.18.

Windstream Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James and to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen. Its shares were indicated down about 60% after delaying its earnings release and losing in its legal case with hedge fund Aurelius.

XPO Logistics Inc. (NYSE: XPO) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight and the target price was lowered to $71 from $116 (versus a $51.97 close, after a 12.7% drop) at Morgan Stanley. The 52-week range is $41.05 to $116.27.

JPMorgan initiated coverage of the auto dealers with a rather broad mix of coverage ratings on Tuesday:

  • Lithia Motors Inc. (NYSE: LAD) was started as Overweight with a $112 price target and Group 1 Automotive Inc. (NYSE: GPO) was started as Overweight with a $77 price target.
  • Sonic Automotive Inc. (NYSE: SAH) and AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN) were started as Underweight.
  • Penske Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: PAG) and Asbury Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: ABG) were both started as Neutral.

Friday’s top analyst calls included Adobe Systems, AIG, CareDx, Coca-Cola, General Dynamics, Harvard Bioscience, LogMeIn, TrueCar, WorkDay and many more.

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