Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Amgen, BorgWarner, Chipotle, Cree, Dollar General, Exelon, PDC Energy, Verizon, Zynga and More

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Monday’s stock market rally was based on hope that the trade war will not get out of hand, as Friday’s news flow and sell-off in stocks might have indicated. Stocks were indicated to open marginally higher on Tuesday, but not by enough of a margin that the day’s bias and outcome were foregone conclusions. Despite the selling pressure last week, and despite all the recession worries, the bull market is well over 10 years old and the Dow Jones industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all remain up with double-digit percentage gains so far in 2019. This is a time when investors need to be considering how to position their portfolios and assets heading into late 2019 and as 2020 approaches.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week to find new ideas for traders and long-term investors alike. Some of the daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy, while some 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 for Tuesday, August 27, 2019.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) opened lower on Monday but ended up closing with a gain of almost 3.2% to $205.41 on news that it was acquiring the rights to a psoriasis drug to help Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene close their pending merger. BMO Capital Markets reiterated its Outperform rating on Amgen and raised its target to $240 from $230, while RBC Capital Markets reiterated its Sector Perform rating but still raised its target to $206 from $192. Amgen’s consensus target price was $210.05.

BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $41 price target at Nomura/Instinet. Shares closed up about 0.6% at $31.06 ahead of the call, and its consensus target price was $45.07.

Cardinal Health Inc. (NYSE: CAH) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus. It had closed up 2.4% at $43.83 ahead of the call, with a consensus target price of $49.47.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) closed up 2.6% at $826.80 on Monday, and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $900 from $815. Chipotle has a 52-week trading range of $383.20 to $831.59, and its consensus target price was $771.92 ahead of this call.

Cree Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) had traded lower in recent days after earnings and analyst downgrades, and JPMorgan has decided to upgrade its Underweight rating to Neutral with a $45 price target. The stock closed down 8.3% at $43.18 on Monday, and it had a $55.88 consensus target price. This had been a $58 stock before the earnings and guidance reaction took the stock much lower.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was reiterated with an Overweight rating at KeyBanc Capital Markets, and the firm raised its target price up to $148 from $140 in the call. The stock was up 1.6% at $139.22 on Monday ahead of the call, and it had a consensus target price of $142.23.

Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight and the price target was raised to $60 from $56 at Morgan Stanley. Shares closed up almost 1.8% at $45.68 ahead of the call, and the consensus target price was $52.34.

Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) was maintained as Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets, but the price target was trimmed to $60 from $61. Nucor closed up 15 at $47.40 on Monday, in a 52-week range of $46.76 to $66.03 and with a consensus target price of $60.92.

PDC Energy Inc. (NYSE: PDCE) was up 17.4% at $29.65 on Monday on news it was acquiring SRC Energy in a $1.7 billion deal. Imperial Capital reiterated PDC Energy as Outperform with a $50 target, and MKM Partners reiterated it as Buy and raised its target to $50 from $48. The 52-week trading range is $24.13 to $57.41, and the consensus target price was $48.04.