Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Ally, Altria, AT&T, Ford, Micron, Shopify, Valero, Wells Fargo, Whiting Petroleum, Zscaler and More

September 10, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks have been volatile, but the S&P 500 is somehow back within about 2% of its all-time highs and the major market indexes are all up easily in the double-digit percentages in 2019. Stocks were indicated to have a slightly lower open on Tuesday, but not by enough that the day’s outcome seemed certain. With all the volatility swings in the stock market, and considering that the bull market is well over 10 years, investors should be pondering what changes they should make for 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 Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AJRD) was started with a Neutral rating and a $52 target price at JPMorgan. The stock closed down 1.8% at $50.66 on Monday, and it had a consensus target price of $51.75.

Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that this consumer banking and lending institution is less exposed to low interest rate concerns than the competition. Shares most recently closed at $34.20, with a consensus price target of $38.43.

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight and the target price was cut to $46 from $64 at Piper Jaffray. Altria closed up 0.4% at $44.04 on Monday and was indicated down the same amount on Tuesday. It previously had a consensus target price of $56.36, and its 52-week trading range is $42.40 to $66.04.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) was reiterated as Underweight and the price target was lowered to $25 from $26 (versus a $28.44 close, after a 2.3% gain) at Morgan Stanley. Its consensus target was $38.47 ahead of this call, with a 52-week trading range of $24.23 to $43.89.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) closed up 1.5% at $36.79 on Monday after Elliott Management took a stake and is seeking to make changes. Barclays maintained its Equal Weight rating but raised its target to $35 from $31.

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AUPH) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $14 target price (versus a $5.80 close) at Oppenheimer. It had a consensus target price of $11.92 and a $523 million market cap ahead of the call.

Banco de Chile (NYSE: BCH) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $29 target price for the American depositary shares at Goldman Sachs. It closed down 0.7% at $28.81 on Monday.

Craft Brew Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: BREW) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that Budweiser passed on this small brewer and investors should too. Its shares last closed at $9.30, with a consensus price target of $73.75.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Bernstein.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) saw its corporate credit rating and other subsidiary ratings downgraded to junk bond status at Moody’s after the close of trading on Monday. While that was a credit downgrade rather than an equity downgrade, Ford shares closed up 2.1% at $9.54 ahead of the cut and were last seen down 4.4% at $9.13, based on the implied higher borrowing costs that the automaker is now likely to face without its investment-grade rating. Ford’s consensus target price was $10.73, and it has a 52-week range of $7.41 to $10.56.

IDEAYA Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: IDYA) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $30 target price (versus a $7.10 close) at Robert W. Baird. The shares have a 52-week range of $5.42 to $16.90, the market cap is $142 million and the consensus target price is $17.00, with and a street-high target of $20.

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (NYSE: IFF) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $140 target price at Societe Generale. IFF closed up 1.7% at $119.93, with a 52-week range of $104.86 to $152.95 and a consensus analyst target of $135.83.

Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) was maintained as Overweight but the target price was lowered to $62 from $74 at JPMorgan.

Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was reiterated as Overweight and its target price was raised to $58 from $45 (versus a $49.13 close) at KeyBanc Capital Markets. The consensus target price was $48.74 ahead of this call, and the 52-week trading range is $28.39 to $50.00.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) was started as Neutral with a $220 target price (versus a $211.18 close) at Rosenblatt. It had a consensus target price of $263.44.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) was maintained as Overweight but the target price was lowered to $115 from $126 at JPMorgan.

Qualys Inc. (NASDAQ: QLYS) was started as Neutral with an $85 target price (versus a $79.35 close) at Rosenblatt. The consensus target price was $95.29.

Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) was reiterated as Neutral with a $325 price target at Wedbush Securities, but the firm did note that the acquisition of 6 River Systems will help with warehouse fulfillment automation. Shares closed down 5.7% at $358.67 on Monday.

Turning Point Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: TPTX) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $63 target price (versus a $42.75 close) at Wedbush. The firm called the shares undervalued as it believes the company’s portfolio of selective TKIs for cancers (driven by alterations in ROS1, NTRK, ALK, MET and RET, which in aggregate affect about 45,000 new patients each year in the United States) offers blockbuster and best-in-class potential over current and emerging alternatives.

Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) was maintained as Overweight but the target price was lowered to $83 from $96 at JPMorgan.

Wabtec Corp. (NYSE: WAB) was started as Equal Weight with a $73 target price (versus a $70.38 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $49 target price (versus a $48.41 close, after a 2.6% gain) at UBS. It has a consensus target price of $48.50 and a 52-week trading range of $43.02 to $57.56.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price objective was slashed to $11 from $19 (versus an $8.04 close, after a 10.6% one-day gain) at Merrill Lynch. The stock was indicated down 1%, and its consensus target price was $19.20. The 52-week trading range is $6.00 to $55.17.

Zscaler Inc. (NASDAQ: ZS) was started as Neutral with a $65 target price (versus a $62.02 close) at Rosenblatt. It had a consensus target price of $80.56, and its 52-week trading range is $30.72 to $89.54.

With the endless media calls for a recession, we have compiled a list of the calls from economists and market pundits and have received some direct commentary after requests from some economists as well. Here are the actual developments rather than the overused blank “recession” call the media is using to show an expected timing and how deep the next recession actually might be.

Small business confidence from the National Federation of Independent Business also eroded in the last look.

Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Apple, Caterpillar, Costco, Chipotle Mexican Grill, eBay, Groupon, Honeywell, Mastercard, Newmont Goldcorp, Roku, Zoetis and more.

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