Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Autodesk, Chesapeake, CRISPR, Disney, Microsoft, Proofpoint, Redfin and More

Stocks were indicated to open higher on Friday after strong bank earnings. The major equity indexes are still up in the double-digit percentages and the S&P 500 remains within striking distance of its all-time highs. Investors should be considering how they want their assets positioned for the rest of 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 Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Friday, April 12, 2019.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at a boutique firm called New Street Research. The firm believes that consensus estimates are too optimistic about upcoming iPhone replacement rates and that the current value is pricing in overly excited estimates on other aspects of the business. The call also came with a $170 price target, which indicates about 15% downside if it proves to be right.

Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $200 price target at Mizuho. The 52-week range is $117.72 to $172.11, and the consensus target price is $182.64.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, with the valuation taking the price target down to $2.50 from $2.75, as the firm sees a less favorable competitive positioning with Chesapeake versus peers.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised to $132 from $120 (versus a $120.33 prior close) at Barclays. Microsoft has a 52-week range of $90.28 to $120.85 and a consensus target price of $128.38.

Murphy Oil Inc. (NYSE: MUR) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs. After it closed down 0.2% at $28.59, the stock has a 52-week trading range of $21.51 to $36.53.

Proofpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: PFPT) was reiterated as Outperform at Wedbush Securities with a $130 price target (versus a $119.94 close). The firm’s channel checks point to a positive first quarter driven by large deals and a growing international contribution from the likes of Latin America and a solid security demand environment and renewals.

Redfin Corp. (NASDAQ: RDFN) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $30 price target (versus a $22.52 close) at Wedbush. The firm noted that Redfin is a residential real estate brokerage with a fundamentally different relationship with technology, and the firm sees it capturing market share in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Smartsheet Inc. (NYSE: SMAR) was started as Buy and assigned a $45 price target (versus a $38.64 close) at Needham. The 52-week range is $13.15 to $33.76, and the consensus target price is $24.50.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) was resumed with an Overweight rating and assigned a $137 price target at JPMorgan after the firm unveiled its streaming service starting at $6.99 per month. The analyst call noted that Disney surprised on the upside at its investor meeting by providing more financial disclosures and by revealing a more content-rich streaming service than previously expected.

Other key analyst calls were seen as follows:

  • Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) was started with a Neutral rating at Buckingham Research.
  • California Resources Corp. (NYSE: CRC) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
  • CRISPR Therapeutics A.G. (NASDAQ: CRSP) was started with an Outperform rating at Evercore ISI.
  • Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Guggenheim.
  • Editas Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: EDIT) was started with an Outperform rating at Evercore ISI.
  • LogMeIn Inc. (NASDAQ: LOGM) was downgraded to Underweight from Overweight at Barclays.
  • Sykes Enterprises Inc. (NASDAQ: SYKE) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.
  • Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. (NYSE: WDR) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Merrill Lynch.

Thursday’s top analyst calls included Apple, Chipotle Mexican Grill, CEMEX, CVS, Eli Lilly, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Incyte, MercadoLibre, U.S. Steel and many more.

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