Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Amgen, Aramark, Chevron, Deere, Exxon, Hecla, Occidental, Urban Outfitters, Whiting and More

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Stocks were very volatile in the prior week after the worst one-day sell-off of 2019, but a late-week recovery is being followed by broad gains on Monday as long-term Treasury yields rose and as hopes that the U.S.-China trade war would not go too far out of hand. It is important to remember that the markets hit all-time highs in late in July and that the bull market is now 10 and a half years old. Investors need 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 analyst 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 mentioned and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations for Monday, August 19, 2019.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho, but the firm lifted its target price to $212 from $208 (versus a $204.02 prior close, after a 2.3% gain).

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was reiterated as Buy and the target price was raised to $54 from $48 at Citigroup. The stock previously closed down 1.1% at $46.63, and it had a $51.86 consensus target price.

Aramark Corp. (NYSE: ARMK) was raised to Buy from Hold at Stifel and to Buy from Neutral at Nomura Instinet. Activist investor Mantle Ridge took a 20% stake in Aramark, and its shares were indicated up 12% at $41.50 on Monday. Its prior consensus target price was $38.33, and its 52-week trading range is $25.49 to $43.70.

Ares Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: ARCC) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform and its target as raised to $20 from $19 (versus an $18.64 close) at BMO Capital Markets. It had a $19.33 consensus target price ahead of the call and an 8.5% dividend yield.

Castle Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: SCTL) has seen its quiet period come to an end. It was started at Canaccord Genuity as Buy with a $26 target, at SVB Leerinkas Outperform with a $28 target and at Robert W. Baird as Outperform with a $27 target. The company priced its IPO at $16 at the end of July, and its shares recently closed at $20.25.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a $145 target price (versus a $115.81 close) at Barclays. The previous consensus target price was $137.59.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) was reiterated as Outperform and its target was raised to $197 from $176 at Credit Suisse. Morgan Stanley reiterated it as Overweight with a target hike to $177 from $172. Wells Fargo maintained Deere as Outperform and cut the target price to $170 from $185, and UBS maintained its Neutral rating but lowered its target to $160 from $165. Shares closed up 3.8% at $149.23 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $128.32 to $171.22 and with a prior consensus target price of $167.11. The stock was indicated up almost 2% at $152.00 on Monday.

Dillard’s Inc. (NYSE: DDS) was reiterated as Sell at Deutsche Bank, and its price target was slashed to $36 from $49 (versus a $55.31 close, after a 2.26% drop) in the call.

Entasis Therapeutics Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: ETTX) was started with a Buy rating and assigned an $18 target price (versus an $8.15 close) at H.C. Wainwright.

Evoqua Water Technologies Corp. (NYSE: AQUA) was reiterated as Neutral but the target price was raised to $16 from $14 (versus a $15.02 close) at Credit Suisse.