Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Barrick Gold, CannTrust, Foot Locker, Inogen, L3Harris, Merck, Petrobras, Starbucks, Symantec, Tesla and More

July 3, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Wednesday ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are right at all-time highs after strong stock and bond inflows, and that is even with the markets knowing that earnings and guidance are looking quite soft after the trade spat with China. Investors need to be considering how they want their portfolios and assets positioned for the second half of 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 traders and long-term investors alike. Some of the daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy. Other calls cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

We have provided these calls in a quick-hit summary for easy reading, and additional comments and trading data have been added on some of the calls. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

Before getting into the heart of things, as this is the day before July 4, investors should expect that the trading volumes will be light throughout the day. That said, volume and volatility in many less active names may dry up almost entirely after the first 30 to 60 minutes of trading.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: GOLD) was up 4% at $15.59 on Tuesday and was indicated up another 1.5% at $15.79 on Wednesday. BMO Capital Markets raised the shares to Outperform from Market Perform and its price target $20 from $14.50. The stock has a 52-week range of $9.53 to $16.45 and a consensus target price of $14.74.

Benefitfocus Inc. (NASDAQ: BNFT) was started as Neutral at JPMorgan. After closing down 1.4% at $25.63, it has a 52-week range of $25.02 to $60.66.

Brookfield Business Partners L.P. (NYSE: BBU) was reinstated as Outperform and was given the same prior $48 target price (versus a $38.57 prior close) at Credit Suisse. The firm had been restricted in coverage, noting an issuance of $795 million of equity by way of a bought deal and two private placements, and the firm noted that it is now leading with liquidity in an environment of potentially ample opportunities.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CTST) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $7 price target at Citigroup. Shares previously closed down 2.9% at $4.97 and have a 52-week range of $4.35 to $11.97. The market cap is $686 million.

Cinemark Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CNK) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $44 price target (versus a $36.43 close) at Loop Capital. The consensus target price was $45.00 ahead of the call, and its 52-week trading range is $34.03 to $43.51.

Digital Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE: DLR) was started as Buy and assigned a $140 price target (versus a $119.13 close) at Argus. The independent research firm noted that the data-center real estate investment trust continues to have solid market operations and strong opportunities in the global colocation market, and it also called the shares undervalued at this price. The stock has a 52-week range of $100.05 to $125.19, and the consensus target price is $126.62.

Domtar Corp. (NYSE: UFS) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets. It closed down 1.5% at $43.66 on Tuesday and was indicated down 2.3% at $43.66 on Wednesday.

Inogen Inc. (NASDAQ: INGN) was downgraded to Underweight from Neutral with a $72 target price (versus a $65.26 close) at JPMorgan. It has a 52-week range of $62.31 to $287.79, its prior consensus target price was $98.50 and it has a $1.4 billion market cap.

L3Harris Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LHX), the amalgamated L3 and Harris, was started with a Buy rating at Vertical Research. Its shares closed at $189.13 ahead of the call, while the consensus target price is $204.70.

Marker Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: MRKR) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $15 target price (versus a $7.87 close, after a 2.5% drop) at Oppenheimer. It has a consensus target price of $12.70 and a 52-week range of $4.18 to $10.92.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $97 price target at Mizuho Securities. While the call implies roughly 14% upside to the target, the firm sees Keytruda driving Merck higher as the leader in immuno-oncology. Shares closed up nearly 1% at $85.51, in a 52-week range of $61.09 to $86.50 and with a consensus target price of $91.20.

Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $45 price target at BMO Capital Markets. Shares closed up 1.4% at $38.44 and were indicated up 0.4% at $38.60. The 52-week range is $29.06 to $38.74, and the consensus target price is $41.71.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $21 price objective. It previously closed down 1.7% at $15.23, and last week’s big financing was actually somewhat successful, all things considered. The American depositary shares have a 52-week range of $10.07 to $17.90, and the previous consensus target price was $18.56.

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) saw its price target raised to $86 form $65 at Stifel. The firm noted that second-quarter same-store sales should come in above consensus expectations. Shares closed up 1.1% at $85.51, in a 52-week range of $48.40 to $85.58 and with a consensus target price of $79.88.

Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) was up big on news reports that Broadcom was in advanced talks to acquire the company. Wedbush noted that a $26 to $28 range would be where the deal would get done if so, but the firm has only a Neutral rating and $19 target, based on its own fundamental standalone value.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares closed down 1.1% on Tuesday ahead of its record deliveries, but the shares were last seen trading up 7% at $240.25 in Wednesday’s premarket. Credit Suisse maintained the Underperform rating it recently initiated, and it has a $189 price target.

Zacks has released its Bull of the Day, with BHP Group PLC (NYSE: BBL) as its top Buy-rated stock, noting that the estimates are pushing up in the right direction for this stock. Its Bear of the Day, Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL), has tripped up a bit following its most recent earnings report.

Energy stocks have been in focus around the OPEC production cut extension, but oil gave back its gains and then some on Tuesday as the realization that OPEC is now being led. Goldman Sachs is still very positive on four large-cap energy companies that could all benefit from the actions taken. Stifel also recently still forecast that five oil and gas stock picks could even see their share prices potentially double.

Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Cars.com, Comerica, Cummins, Enbridge, Lyft, Micron Technology, Roku, Stryker, Uber Technologies, Visa, Western Digital and many more.

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