Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AFL, Agilent, Allergan, Barrick Gold, Cognex, Hilton, Lloyds, MetLife, Slack, Wingstop and More

July 16, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Tuesday as the earnings floodgates have begun to open. The bull market is now well over 10 years old, and 2019 has seen very strong stock market gains, with the indexes all having touched new all-time highs. Investors should be considering exactly 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.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

Aflac Inc. (NYSE: AFL) was downgraded to Underperform from In-Line at Evercore ISI.

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch, just a day after Barclays downgraded it to Equal Weight from Overweight. Shares closed down 1.54% at $70.55 after Monday’s cautious call and were indicated down another 1.1% at $69.75 after this new downgrade. The 52-week trading range is $61.01 to $82.27, and the consensus target price is $83.07.

Allergan PLC (NYSE: AGN) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Bernstein.

Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: GOLD was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays, but the price target was raised to $18 from $15 in the call. Shares closed down 1% at $16.34 ahead of this call and were indicated down 0.5% at $16.25 afterward. Barrick Gold has a 52-week trading range of $9.53 to $16.68 and a consensus target price of $15.79

Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (N(NASDAQ: CRZO) was up 1.9% at $10.70 after a merger with Callon, and now MKM Partners downgraded it to Neutral from Buy and cut the target price to $11 from $19.

Cognex Corp. (NASDAQ: CGNX) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral and the target price was cut to $36 from $45 at Goldman Sachs. Shares were up 0.2% at $42.51 ahead of the call and down 4.4% at $40.65 afterward.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HLT) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE: LH) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Merrill Lynch.

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (NYSE: LYG) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan in its overseas coverage.

MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) was downgraded to In-Line from Outperform at Evercore ISI. Shares closed down 0.27% at $50.78 ahead of the call and were indicated down 0.8% at $50.37 afterward. MetLife has a 52-week range of $37.76 to $50.94 and a consensus target price of $52.94.

OneMain Holdings Inc. (NYSE: OMF) was raised to Overweight from Neutral and the target price was raised to $41 from $37 at JPMorgan.

Qiagen N.V. (NYSE: QGEN) was downgraded to In Line from Outperform at Evercore ISI.

Royal Gold Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLD) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays, and Raymond James downgraded it to Market Perform from Outperform. Shares closed up 0.76% at $110.81, in a 52-week range of $70.16 to $111.16 and with a consensus target price of $97.04.

Slack Technologies Inc. (NYSE: WORK) was started as Neutral at Credit Suisse, while Morgan Stanley started it as Equal Weight and Goldman Sachs it as Neutral. KeyBanc Capital Markets started Slack with an Overweight rating and $44 price target. Shares closed up 3% at $34.75 after a slew of analysts initiated coverage the prior day. The post-IPO trading range is $33.37 to $42.00.

Sonoco Products Co. (NYSE: SON) was downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital Markets.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) was downgraded to Buy from Strong Buy at Needham.

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (NYSE: WPM) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays.

Wingstop Inc. (NASDAQ: WING) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform but the target price was raised to $82 from $83 at Wedbush, which believes that its current valuation largely incorporates investor expectations for sustained same-store sales growth momentum above consensus expectations.

Trade with China remains the top issue across Wall Street, and the nod to Huawei from Washington D.C. could be a huge plus for three top semiconductor companies.

Zacks has named United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: UAL) as its Bull of the Day, noting that earnings after the bell could provide liftoff. The Bear of the Day is Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU). Zacks noted that not all the coal stocks are burning out, but nobody likes 40% EPS contraction.

Monday’s top analyst calls included Agilent Technologies, Amazon.com, American Water Works, Crocs, Deere, General Electric, Gilead Sciences, Slack, Teva Pharmaceutical and many more.

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