8 Large-Cap and Mega-Cap Stocks Scoring Major Analyst Upgrades

July 10, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

The markets may have come off their highs of the day after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggested that it may be appropriate to begin lowering interest rates, but investors need to consider that the S&P 500 rose above 3,000 for the first time and the Dow Jones industrials have come within 20 points of hitting 27,000 for the first time.

Many issues are still weighing on investors now that this bull market is 10 years old. The global growth story has been slow amid the U.S. trade war with China, and other major nations are trying to deal with slower growth. Investors need to be strongly considering how and where they want their portfolios and assets positioned as the second half of 2019 gets closer and closer to 2020.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week to find new ideas for our readers. These ideas are for active traders and long-term investors alike. After looking at the daily flow of calls on Wednesday, it turns out that there were eight analyst upgrades in large-cap and mega-cap stocks that stood out. In some cases, these were formal analyst rating changes (to Buy or Outperform), and some saw substantial price target hikes.

Large-cap and mega-cap stocks generally are considered to be safer than small-cap and micro-cap stocks. That is not a universal truth, but that is how the market usually sees things.

We have compared most of these calls with the Refinitiv consensus analyst target price, and we have factored in implied upside to the target prices. There are of course no assurances that these stocks will even rise to those prices, and there are no assurances that the all-time highs of the market will even hold at their current levels.

These calls have been covered in a quick-hit summary for easy reading, and additional comments and trading data have been added on some of the calls. Here are eight top analyst calls covering large-cap and mega-cap stocks from Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) was raised to Buy from Neutral and was even added to the prized Conviction Buy list at Goldman Sachs on Wednesday. The implied upside here is twice as much as most analysts are expecting, and the death of cable by cord-cutters may be a bit exaggerated. More details on this Comcast upgrade have been covered, and the shares were last seen up about 1% at $43.45 on Wednesday.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) was started with a Buy rating and was added to the Conviction Buy list at Goldman Sachs. The firm set a $220 price target that implies almost 25% upside from the current $160.30 share price. FedEx has a consensus target price of $188.64.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) shares hit an all-time high of $373.33 after UBS reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target price to $420 from $385. The target already was above the prior consensus target price of $371.83, and the prior street-high analyst target was just $405 ahead of Wednesday’s upgrade. With new missile deals, jet sales and satellite orders, an added boost is coming from continued high-margin F-16 sales long after the jet was expected to enter a phase-out cycle. Lockheed Martin was up 0.5% at $371.75 midday, leaving an implied upside of about 13% to the new street-high target, without even considering its 2.35% dividend yield.

Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) was reiterated as Outperform at Wells Fargo, but the firm upgraded its target price to $305 from $285 in the call. The prior closing price was $273.34, and the reaction had shares up 1.1% at $276.53. Wells Fargo already was above the consensus target price of $282.63, and the new $305 target implies upside of just over 10%.

PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) has seen its shares react after earnings on Tuesday, and the gain on Wednesday was up 1.1% to $133.35, within striking distance of the all-time high of $135.24. Merrill Lynch reiterated PepsiCo as Buy and raised the price objective to $142 from $135. Morgan Stanley reiterated its Overweight rating but lifted its price target to $143 from $137. UBS maintained only a Neutral rating but raised its analyst target to $132 from $130. Credit Suisse even reiterated its Underperform rating on the stock, but the firm lifted its target to $110 from $106.

Total S.A. (NYSE: TOT) is a French oil, gas and energy player, but it has over a $140 billion market cap and is still actively traded in New York. Credit Suisse downgraded BP PLC (NYSE: BP) to Neutral from Outperform on Wednesday, but Total was raised to Outperform from Neutral as the firm switched opinions on the European oil and gas segment. Credit Suisse said that Total is now cheaper than BP using the $62 to $63 Brent (per barrel) prices. It also sees an important catalyst around the corner, and it noted that Total’s Strategy Day in September should provide greater visibility out to 2025 and should allow the company to be more assertive on its distribution policy. Total has close to a 5% yield as is, and its American depositary shares were last seen up 0.8% at $55.97. The 52-week range is $49.70 to $65.69.

United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $123 price target at Goldman Sachs. This implies upside of 21% from the current $101.50 share price, and the Goldman Sachs target is higher than the $115.55 consensus target price.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) saw Wells Fargo reiterate its Outperform rating, but the firm raised its target price to $200 from $180. Shares previously closed at $177.73 and were last seen up 1.25 at $179.90 after the target was upgraded. The consensus target price was at $183.03, and the higher Wells Fargo target leaves an implied upside of just over 11%, if the firm’s call proves to be correct.

Wednesday’s full coverage of analyst upgrades and downgrades included Acacia, Baidu, BioMarin, Boeing, BP, CSX, Deere, HCA, PepsiCo, Redfin, S&P, Trimble, Visa, Zillow and more.

Tuesday’s top analyst calls included Albermarle, Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Beyond Meat, Citigroup, 3M, Nike, Slack, Square and many more companies.

Monday’s top analyst calls were in American Express, Apple, Applied Materials, Best Buy, CrowdStrike, F5 Networks, NetApp, Verizon Communications and others.


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