Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: American Express, Apple, Applied Materials, Best Buy, Crowdstrike, F5 Networks, NetApp, Verizon and More

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The futures traded lower Monday morning as investors and traders returned from the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. With a very positive employment report on Friday, and second-quarter earnings ready to start hitting the tape hot and heavy next week, we could be in for a very busy week. 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 come from the Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Monday, July 8, 2019.

American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was resumed in coverage with a Buy rating and a $142 price objective at Deutsche Bank. The Wall Street consensus target for the financial services behemoth is $125.27. The shares closed Friday at $125.40.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated with an Outperform rating at Wedbush, which also has a $235 price target. The analysts there note that Asia checks give confidence in iPhone demand despite some noise. However, Rosenblatt downgraded the stock from Neutral to Sell on what it calls “fundamental deterioration” and it has a $150 price target. The consensus target is $212.03. The stock was last seen trading at $204.23.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at D.A. Davidson, which also lowered the price target on the semiconductor capital equipment giant to $45. That compares to the consensus price target of $51.33. The stock closed Friday at $43.98.

BNY Mellon Inc. (NYSE: BK) was downgraded to Underweight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley. The 52-week trading range for the shares is $42.13 to $55.70, and the consensus price target is $90.03. Friday’s closing price was $44.53. The shares were lower in Monday’s premarket.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was started with a Buy rating at Guggenheim, and the analysts posted an $80 price target for the retail giant. The consensus target is $76.54. The shares were last seen trading at $71.89.

Cabot Microelectronics Corp. (NASDAQ: CCMP) was started with a Buy rating and a $148 price target at Goldman Sachs. That compares to the much lower consensus target of $135.25. The shares closed Friday at $110.03.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE: COG) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which also raised its price target to $28. The consensus target is $28.30, and shares closed Friday at $23.64.

Crowdstrike Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWD) had a red-hot IPO recently, and the quiet period has lifted for the cybersecurity stock. Needham started it with a Buy rating and an $80 price target. The analysts note that CrowdStrike is one of the premier native cloud security platforms, a cornerstone of a Cloud Federated Security model and also a cornerstone of a Zero Trust Security architecture. Merrill Lynch also started the shares with a Buy rating and a $75 price objective. In addition, Stifel, Barclays and Mizhou all have Buy ratings with an $80 target. The shares closed trading Friday at $67.21 but were higher in the premarket.