Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AMD, Apple, Chipotle, Costco, Exxon, Netflix, Qualcomm, Ulta, US Bancorp and More

July 18, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks were indicated to open marginally lower on Thursday, but the three major equity indexes remain effectively just under their all-time highs. The bull market is now well over 10 years old, and investors are expecting the first rate hike announcement at the end of July. 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 on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) was reiterated as Outperform and the target price was raised to $93 from $87 at Raymond James.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho, but it was a valuation call after an 80% surge in its shares in 2019. Shares closed down 0.7% at $33.60 on Wednesday and were indicated down another 1% at $33.25 Thursday morning. The 52-week range of $15.72 to $34.86, and the consensus target price is $31.21.

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: APD) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Bernstein.

Allergan PLC (NYSE: AGN) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform and the target price was lowered to $188 from $217 at Leerink.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James. The upgrade talked up the upcoming 5G iPhone cycle. Shares closed down 0.56% at $203.35, in a 52-week range of $142.00 to $233.47 and with a consensus target price of $212.50.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) was raised to Market Perform from Underperform and the target price was raised to $47 from $46 at Keefe Bruyette & Woods. Argus maintained it at Hold, based on continued revenue pressure after this week’s earnings.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was reiterated as Equal Weight and the price target was raised to $700 from $658 at Morgan Stanley.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was reiterated as Outperform and the target price was raised to $300 from $260 at Raymond James.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform and the target price was lowered to $90 from $100 at RBC Capital Markets.

Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) was reiterated as Outperform and its target was raised to $300 from $284 at Raymond James.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was reiterated as Overweight and the price target was raised to $220 from $210 at Morgan Stanley. Shares closed down one cent to $213.71, and the fast-food giant has a 52-week range of $153.13 to $214.90. The consensus target price is $220.69.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) was maintained as Strong Buy at Raymond James, but the target price was cut to $450 from $470. Wedbush Securities maintained its Underperform rating but did lift its price target to $188 from $183. Netflix was last seen down about 10.5% at $324.50 after missing its net subscriber adds with its earnings report. The 52-week range is $231.23 to $386.80. The consensus analyst target is $391.31.

Power Integrations Inc. (NASDAQ: POWI) was raised to Buy from Hold and the target price was raised to $90 from $74 at Stifel.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight and the target price was lowered to $75 from $90 at Barclays. Shares closed at $75.76 but were indicated down 0.9% at $75.05 after the call. The 52-week range is $49.10 to $90.34, and the consensus target price is $88.53.

Trade Desk Inc. (NASDAQ: TTD) was downgraded to Hold from Buy but the target price was raised to $250 from $225 at Jefferies.

Ulta Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) was reiterated as Overweight and the target price was raised to $395 from $375 at Morgan Stanley.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) was raised to Neutral from Underperform and the price objective was raised to $55 from $49 at Merrill Lynch. Argus reiterated its Buy rating after earnings, with the firm citing continued loan growth in the second quarter.

U.S. Concrete Inc. (NASDAQ: USCR) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and the target price was raised to $53 from $51 at Stifel.

Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer.

Zymeworks Inc. (NYSE: ZYME) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $34 target price at Deutsche Bank.

After a huge run, the semiconductor segment got hammered in the late spring. The SunTrust team remains cautious but has four top picks that still make sense for investors who are seeking aggressive growth rather than stable income.

Zacks has named Boot Barn Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BOOT) as its Bull of the Day, saying that with double-digit same-store sales growth this western retailer is operating on all cylinders. The Bear of the Day is Greenbrier Companies Inc. (NYSE: GBX). Zacks noted that this railcar maker is at a two-year low after disappointing fourth-quarter guidance.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Apple, Canopy Growth, Cheniere Energy, CSX, Johnson & Johnson, Motorola Solutions, Slack, Tilray, VMware and many more.

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