Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Canopy Growth, Cheniere, CSX, Johnson & Johnson, Motorola, Slack, Tilray, VMware and More

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Stocks were looking for direction as earnings season gets started. 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. This is a time when investors have to 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 Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was maintained as Neutral at Goldman Sachs, but the firm raised its price target to $187 from $171 in the call. While Goldman Sachs is warning that data on the App Store is suggesting a material slowdown in May and June, it has raised the earnings multiple after the S&P multiple has increased on its own.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) was started as Buy and assigned a $9 target price (versus a $7.16 prior close) at Ladenburg Thalmann.

Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) was started as Buy and assigned a $50 target price (versus a $35.56 close) at Ladenburg Thalmann.

Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) was maintained as Buy at Argus, but the independent research firm lowered its target price to $52 from $57, based on concerns about its net interest income. Shares rose 3.3% to $41.63 the prior day.

Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) was reiterated as Overweight and the target price was raised to $450 from $420 (versus a $414.84 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSEARCA: LNG) was started as Neutral at BTIG Research, and just a day earlier it was part of a pre-earnings MLP/midstream sector review at Credit Suisse.

Cintas Corp. (NASDAQ: CTAS) was maintained as Underweight but the target price was raised to $202 from $184 (versus a $239.44 close) at Morgan Stanley.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Merrill Lynch. Shares closed down about 1.5% at $59.75 ahead of this call and were indicated up over 1% at $60.55 afterward, and the consensus target price was $77.69.

CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Stephens. Raymond James maintained it as Outperform but lowered its target price to $81 from $84. The stock was indicated down 7.5% at $73.60 on Wednesday morning.

Ctrip.com International Ltd. (NASDAQ: CTRP) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse.

Domino’s Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) was down 8.6% at $246.54 on Tuesday after earnings showed slower same-store sales growth. Morgan Stanley maintained it as Overweight but cut the price target to $287 from $305. Argus reiterated its Buy rating but lowered the target price to $280 from $310, but the firm maintained that the post-earnings pullback offers a favorable entry point.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) was started as Overweight with a $37 target (versus a $30.32 close) at Piper Jaffray. Enterprise was part of a pre-earnings MLP/midstream sector review at Credit Suisse the previous day.

ExlService Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: EXLS) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $60 target price (versus a $65.12 close) at Citigroup.

58.com Inc. (NYSE: WUBA) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) closed down 1.6% at $132.50 as earnings were better than expected but outside issues are strongly overshadowing earnings and guidance. Raymond James maintained it as Outperform but cut the target price to $146 from $147.