Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Abercrombie, Ambarella, Best Buy, Dollar General, Novo Nordisk, Ulta Beauty, Whiting Petroleum and More

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Stocks were indicated to open higher on Friday on continued hopes that the trade war with China will become less hostile. The bull market is well over 10 years old, and the Dow Jones industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq still have double-digit percentage gains so far in 2019. Investors should 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 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 Friday, August 30, 2019.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) was down 15% at $14.45 a share in Thursday’s post-earnings reaction. Deutsche Bank raised it to Hold from Sell.

Ambarella Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA) was up 4.9% at $47.37 on Thursday, but Friday’s post-earnings reaction had it up 19% at $56.80. Morgan Stanley reiterated it as Overweight and raised the target price to $60 from $52. Cowen reiterated it as Outperform and raised the target price to $68 from $54.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was reiterated as Neutral with a $63 target price (versus a $63.49 prior close, after an 8% drop) at Wedbush Securities. Telsey Advisory maintained its Market Perform rating and lowered its target price to $70 from $76.

Deckers Outdoor Corp. (NYSE: DECK) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that the maker of Uggs is firing on all cylinders as it recently raised full-year guidance. Shares of Deckers most recently closed at $146.48, with a consensus price target of $176.08.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was up over 10% at $156.09 after beating earnings on Thursday. Credit Suisse reiterated it as Neutral and raised the price target to $154 from $130. Morgan Stanley reiterated its Overweight rating and raised the target price to $155 from $142, and Barclays reiterated its Overweight rating and raised its target to $180 from $141. Piper Jaffray reiterated its Overweight rating and raised its target to $170 from $137.

Lear Corp. (NYSE: LEA) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that the auto industry is struggling as global production falls. Shares of Lear most recently closed at $109.13, with a consensus price target of $142.44.

Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) was downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies. It was up 0.6% at $52.63 on Thursday but indicated down 1% at $52.10 on Friday, with a consensus target price of $53.90.

Oasis Petroleum Inc. (NYSE: OAS) was started with an Equal Weight rating and assigned a $3.50 target price (versus a $3.31 close) at Barclays.

Smartsheet Inc. (NYSE: SMAR) was reiterated as Outperform with a $62 target price (versus a $50.27 close) at Wedbush.

Ulta Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) was up 2% at $337.45 on Thursday ahead of earnings, but Friday’s earnings reaction had shares down almost 25% at $253.35 in early trading. UBS maintained its Buy rating but cut the target to $300 from $365, and Piper Jaffray cut it to Neutral from Overweight and lowered its target to $250 from $360. Morgan Stanley downgraded Ulta to Equal Weight from Overweight and cut its target to $275 from $395. Stifel maintained a Hold rating, but the firm cut its target to $250 from $315. Cowen maintained its Outperform rating but cut its target to $313 from $375. Wells Fargo downgraded it to Market Perform from Outperform.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was started with an Equal Weight rating and assigned a $3.50 target price (versus a $7.20 close) at Barclays.

Zymeworks Inc. (NYSE: ZYME) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $45 target price (versus a $26.06 close) at Stifel. The stock has a 52-week range of $10.72 to $27.19 and a consensus target price of $24.88.

As Treasury yields are at their lowest levels in years, some investors are again being forced to look at equities for income. The Merrill Lynch High Quality & Dividend portfolio stocks are among the best choice for conservative accounts.

Energy stocks have been battered, and energy MLPs even more so. It’s possible yield-starved income investors may start looking at the sector again as Treasury yields are at incredibly low levels.

The top analyst upgrades and downgrades seen on Thursday included Amgen, Bank of America, Box, Chico’s FAS, Microsoft, Netflix, NXP Semiconductors, StoneCo, Tiffany and many more.

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