Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AGCO, Apple, Caterpillar, Cisco, Deere, Evergy, Levi Strauss, Paypal, Slack, Urban Outfitters and More

August 15, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

After a major sell-off on Wednesday due to yield curve concerns about a recession, stocks had been indicated to open lower on Thursday until Walmart’s earnings offered some support. It is important to consider that the major stock market indexes were just all-time highs less than a month ago. Investors have many reasons to remain cautious, and earnings season has been hard on many companies and many sectors. Investors need to be considering how they want their assets positioned for the rest 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 investors and traders alike. Some of these analyst reports cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Additional commentary has been added on most of the daily analyst reports, along with trading history. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday, August 15, 2019.

AGCO Corp. (NYSE: AGCO) was started as Overweight and assigned an $80 target price (versus a $64.14 prior close) at Stephens.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated as Outperform with a $245 price target (versus a $202.75 close) at Wedbush Securities, with the firm noting that the iPhone demand cycle looks stable heading into fiscal 2020 despite all the ongoing China worries. The 52-week trading range is $142.00 to $233.47, and the consensus price target is $223.03.

Applied Industrial Technologies Inc. (NYSE: AIT) was maintained as Overweight but the target price was lowered to $65 from $70 (versus a $52.77 close) at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) was downgraded to Hold from Buy and its target price was lowered to $165 from $180 at Deutsche Bank.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) was started as Underweight with a $100 target price at Stephens. Caterpillar was down 3.2% at $115.21 on Wednesday, and its prior consensus target price was still up at $143.61. The 52-week trading range is $112.06 to $159.37.

Children’s Place Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCE) was down almost 8% to $76.28 on Wednesday, but Thursday it was raised to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) was down 4% at $50.61 ahead of earnings and was down close to 8% at $46.50 on Thursday morning after the results disappointed and as China orders were running extremely soft. KeyBanc Capital Markets maintained the stock as Overweight and cut its target price to $56 from $60. Raymond James reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its Cisco target to $59 from $58. The 52-week trading range is $40.25 to $58.26, and the consensus price target is $58.43.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) was started as Equal Weight with a $160 target price at Stephens. The 52-week trading range is $128.32 to $171.22, and the consensus price target is $167.06.

Elanco Animal Health Inc. (NYSE: ELAN) was raised to Neutral from Sell with a $30 target price (versus a $28.51 close) at UBS.

Evergy Inc. (NYSE: EVRG) managed to close up a whole two cents despite Wednesday’s selling pressure, and its shares hit an all-time high of $64.38 as well. Wells Fargo downgraded it to Market Perform from Outperform based on valuation.

Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: HST) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BTIG.

Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE: LEVI) was down 5.6% at $16.25 during Wednesday’s sell-off. Bank of America upgraded it to Buy from Neutral after the shares hit a post-IPO low, but its price objective was cut to $20 from $25 in the call. The post-IPO trading range is $16.00 to $24.50, and the consensus price target is $24.00.

Manhattan Associates Inc. (NASDAQ: MANH) was started as Buy with a $100 target price (versus an $81.80 close) at Rosenblatt.

Paychex Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight and its target price was lowered to $74 from $77 at Morgan Stanley.

PayPal Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) was reiterated as Outperform with a $140 target priced (versus a $106.04 close) at Wedbush. The firm’s call comes after meeting with the company to evaluate recent executive departures, its 2019 guidance reset and thoughts on 2020 guidance.

Pivotal Software Inc. (NASDAQ: PVTL) is reportedly in talks to be acquired by VMware (with Dell and VMware already owning about 65% of the company), but Wedbush maintained its Neutral rating and $15 target price, noting that the acquisition would end the dark days for Pivotal.

Slack Technologies Inc. (NYSE: WORK) was down 1.5% at $30.76 during Wednesday’s selling, but it was indicated up 3.4% at $31.80 on Thursday. Bernstein started it as Market Perform with a $31 target price.

Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the target price was slashed to $23 from $38 (versus a $20.25 prior close, after a 7.4% drop) at B. Riley. Urban Outfitters was indicated down about 1.5% at $19.95 on Thursday and was going to hit another 52-week low.

Zacks has named GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: GWPH) as its Bull of the Day, saying that this is a success story in cannabis medicine, 20 years in the making, and is now rapidly growing sales. The Bear of the Day is NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP). Zacks noted that warnings of trouble in the cloud/big data industry will now get worse after the Cisco quarterly report.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Acorda Therapeutics, Activision Blizzard, Bloom Energy,, CBS, Deere, Ferrari and many more.