Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Arista, BHP, Crocs, Digital Realty, HCA, Kimberly-Clark, Lyft, Qualcomm, Roku and More

April 23, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Source: Bet_Noire / Getty Images
Stocks were indicated to open higher with four Dow Jones industrial average components beating earnings estimates on Tuesday after a very mixed trading session on Monday. With the major market indexes all still up well into the double-digit percentages year to date, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are still within about 2% of hitting all-time highs again. And that’s happened while the 10-year Treasury yield has crept back up about 20 basis points in less than a month. With so much at stake, investors need to be considering how they want their portfolios positioned for the rest of the year and beyond.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is to find new trading and investing ideas for our readers. Some of the daily analyst reports cover stocks to buy, but others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Additional commentary and trading data have been added on some of the daily analyst reports. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

Arista Networks Inc. (NYSE: ANET) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

BHP Group PLC (NYSE: BHP) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS, with the firm noting that BHP’s results would slow as prices realized for iron ore and thermal coal moderate. Shares closed at $55.13, in a 52-week range of $43.19 to $57.25 and with a consensus target price of $49.77.

Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE: BXP) was raised to Overweight from Sector Weight with a $146 price target at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Corporate Office Properties Trust (NYSE: OFC) was downgraded to Underweight with a $23 target price at KeyBanc Capital Markets. Shares closed at $27.13, in a 52-week range of $20.04 to $31.01 and with a consensus target price of $28.55.

Crocs Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $31 price target at Piper Jaffray. Shares closed at $27.26, in a 52-week range of $14.98 to $31.88 and with a consensus target price of $31.33.

Digital Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE: DLR) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies. Shares closed at $119.38, in a 52-week range of $100.05 to $125.10 and with a consensus target price of $125.67.

HCA Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: HCA) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform with a $135 target price at Raymond James. Shares closed at $115.00, in a 52-week range of $93.03 to $147.42 and with a consensus target price of $153.42.

Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) was raised to Outperform and the target price was raised to $142 from $102 at Macquarie. Shares closed at $130.25, in a 52-week range of $97.10 to $132.47. The consensus target price is $110.56.

Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) was the big analyst call of the day with a slew of Wall Street initiating coverage now that its quiet period has ended.

  • Stifel started Lyft as Buy with a $68 price target.
  • JPMorgan started it as Overweight with an $82 price target.
  • Piper Jaffray started it as Overweight with a $78 price target.
  • UBS started it with a Buy rating and an $82 target.
  • Canaccord Genuity issued a new Buy rating with a $75 target price.
  • Credit Suisse started it as Outperform with a $95 price target.
  • Cowen started it as Outperform with a $77 target price.
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets started it at Sector Weight with a $67 target.

Lyft had closed up 4.4% at $60.94 ahead of the calls, and Tuesday’s indications had the shares up 2.3% at $62.35. The post-IPO trading range has been $55.56 to $88.60.

MercadoLibre Inc. (NASDAQ: MELI) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight with a $492 target price at JPMorgan. Shares closed at $490.77, in a 52-week range of $257.52 to $527.09 and with a consensus target price of $463.00.

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (NYSE: PEG) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight and the price target was raised to $95 from $55 at Morgan Stanley after a massive recovery was seen with the Apple settlement announced in the past week. Shares closed at $81.97, in a 52-week range of $48.56 to $82.52 and with a consensus target price of $68.48.

Roku Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKU) was started as Positive with an $80 price target at Susquehanna, with the call that its design was built for low-cost TV hardware while its competitors are more wired for smartphones and tablets, which should help its long-term profits along with its unbiased content platform. Shares closed at $58.20, in a 52-week range of $26.30 to $77.57 and with a consensus analyst target of $67.45.

Sanderson Farms Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

Visteon Corp. (NYSE: VC) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and the target price was raised to $108 from $87 at Robert W. Baird.

The government just issued a serious earnings warning to all Americans on its forecasts for when Social Security gets inverted and then goes bust.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey has three semiconductor stocks it likes heading into earnings, despite a massive run-up seen in the key stocks and sector ETFs so far in 2019.

Trade War Hero/Victim: Yum! Brands vs. Yum China.

The top six ETFs targeting themes of artificial intelligence, robotics and automation all seem to have drastically different strategies and holdings (and fee structures) after you break them down to the bones.

S&P Global sees U.S. gross domestic product rising by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2019 on a quarterly annualized basis. That is down from the 2.2% growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, but it is up handily from prior expectations. On a comparative year-over-year basis, U.S. GDP would then downtick slightly to 2.9% in the first quarter of 2019 from the 3.0% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Monday’s top analyst calls included Amazon.com, Dover, Facebook, Lam Research, Newmont Mining, Occidental Petroleum, Six Flags, Tesla, 3D Systems and many more companies.

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