Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Beyond Meat, Costco, Disney, Gap, Hecla Mining, Qualcomm, Slack, Teradata, Walmart, Zillow and More

November 8, 2019 by Jon C. Ogg

Stocks hit new all-time highs on the S&P 500, Dow Jones industrials and Nasdaq on Thursday on news that the United States and China were rolling back tariffs and were closer to a phase-one trade deal. All the media calls for an imminent recession are looking pretty silly at this point, and the Dow is now close to that 28,000 mark our model came up with at the start of 2019. Stocks were indicated to take a breather on Friday morning but not by enough that the day’s outcome seemed set in stone. Investors still have a lot of pressing issues and risks to consider now that the bull market is over 10 and a half years old. This is a time for investors to consider what changes they should be making 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. Our goal is 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 sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations for Friday, November 8, 2019.

Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) was down 3.2% at $54.55 ahead of earnings, but a light forecast for the holiday quarter had its shares down another 2.4% at $53.25 after the report. JPMorgan reiterated it as Overweight and raised the target price to $62 from $58, and Needham reiterated its Buy rating and $62 target price. Wedbush Securities reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $69 from $60. Activision Blizzard had a consensus target price of $58.52, and its 52-week trading range is $39.85 to $65.40.

Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, with the firm citing its own challenging outlook. Still, its shares closed up 2% at $24.09 on Thursday.

AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE: AVB) was started with a Buy rating and a $244 target price at Goldman Sachs. Shares closed down about 1.5% at $209.14 ahead of the call, and the consensus target price was $225.10.

Avrobio Inc. (NASDAQ: AVRO) was reiterated as Buy with a $34 price target (versus a $14.40 prior close) at Janney. The firm noted that its programs all appear to be on track and its next update will be at the WORLD LSD Symposium in February 2020.

Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) was started with a Neutral rating and an $85 target price at UBS. It closed down 2.1% at $78.99 on Thursday, and its consensus target price was still up at $118.90.

Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE: BXP) was started with a Buy rating and a $156 target price at Goldman Sachs. Shares closed up four cents at $137.96 ahead of the call, and the consensus target price was $145.05.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was started with a Neutral rating and a $300 target price at Nomura/Instinet. The stock closed up 1.2% at $305.21 on Thursday, and it has a consensus target price of $301.61 and a 52-week trading range of $189.51 to $307.34.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) traded up over 1.8% at $18.06 ahead of its report, but the fiscal 2019 forecast looked about 15% light on earnings, and the apparel retailer announced that Art Peck was stepping down as CEO and that Executive Chair Robert Fisher would serve as interim-CEO. Wells Fargo maintained its Market Perform rating but cut its target to $16 from $20. Shares of the Gap were last seen trading down about 9% at $16.37 in the premarket session. The shares have a 52-week range of $15.11 to $31.39, and the prior consensus target price was $19.21.

Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL) closed down 5.9% at $2.23 on Thursday after reporting a loss and on revenues that were under expectations. BMO Capital Markets upgraded it to Market Perform from Underperform and raised the target price to $2.20 from $1.60.

Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that fertilizer demand continues to lag in 2019. Shares last closed at $20.74, with a consensus price target of $26.58.

Newell Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: NWL) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that the maker of Mr. Coffee just posted a big third-quarter beat and raised full-year guidance. Its shares most recently closed at $20.04, with a consensus price target of $20.45.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $110 from $95 at Argus. The stock closed up 6.3% at $89.98 on Thursday’s post-earnings reaction, and its consensus target price was $87.11.

SailPoint Technologies Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SAIL) was started with an Outperform rating and a $32 price target at Wedbush. This was after a 9.2% gain to $21.99 on Thursday, but Wedbush sees a big opportunity for the company’s leading identity-based solution to provide secure access to data that resides outside the corporate network in an effort to remedy a major pain point for CIOs. Its 52-week range is $16.63 to $32.25.

Slack Technologies Inc. (NYSE: WORK) closed up 1% at $20.34 on Thursday, but its shares were indicated lower by about 2% at $19.95 after Wedbush initiated coverage with an Underperform rating and assigned a mere $14 price target. While it has accumulated about 12 million daily active users and is growing its base of over 100,000 paid customers, Wedbush’s customer checks are pointing to where Slack will have a hard time further penetrating the enterprise with such a significant competitive offering from Microsoft’s TEAM product.

Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) was maintained as Buy at UBS, but the firm lowered its target price to $77 from $81. Shares closed up 5% at $64.41 on Thursday, as several other firms also trimmed their upside expectations.

Teradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC) was up almost 3% at $31.12 ahead of earnings, but it was last seen down about 25% at $23.50 in the early Friday trading indications. Its 52-week range was $27.95 to $49.42, and its consensus target price had been $42.15. Merrill Lynch downgraded it to Neutral from Buy and slashed its price objective to $33 from $48, and Stifel downgraded it to Hold from Buy and slashed its $60 prior target to $25.

UDR Inc. (NYSE: UDR) was started as Neutral with a $53 target price (versus a $47.49 close, after a 2.4% drop) at Goldman Sachs. The consensus target price is $50.26.

Ulta Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) was started with a Reduce rating and a $215 target price at Nomura/Instinet. The stock closed at $243.77 ahead of the call, and it has a 52-week range of $224.43 to $368.83 and a consensus target price of $288.68.

Virtu Financial Inc. (NASDAQ: VIRT) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the target price was lowered to $17 from $21 at UBS. Shares closed down 2% at $16.00 on Thursday, and they were indicated down another 1.4% at $15.78 on Friday.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was started with a Buy rating and a $132 target price at Nomura/Instinet. Walmart closed up 0.6% at $120.23 a share on Thursday. The consensus target price is $123.05, and the 52-week trading range is $85.78 to $120.92.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) closed up 1.4% at $133.13 on Thursday with a strong market, and its post-earnings reaction initially had its shares up 3.7% at $138.10. Wells Fargo maintained its Outperform rating but trimmed its target to $167 from $173. Disney’s 52-week high is still up at $147.15, and its consensus target price was previously $151.04.

Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) was maintained as Hold at Stifel, but the firm trimmed its target price to $35 from $38. Shares were down 7.9% at $30.12 on Thursday ahead of what was expected to be unexciting earnings, and they initially traded down 2% to $29.50 after earnings. This is against a pre-earnings consensus target price of $39.39, but the shares already had a 52-week range of $29.33 to $45.45.

Zillow Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ZG) was up 0.3% at $33.72 on Thursday ahead of its earnings, but the after-hours trading reaction initially had shares up 10.3% at $37.15. The 52-week range is $26.20 to $50.99, and the consensus target price was $45.38. Wedbush maintained its Neutral rating and its $39 price target, as it still sees a long road ahead. KeyBanc Capital Markets maintained its Overweight rating but lowered its target price to $63 from $65.

Zix Corp. (NASDAQ: ZIXI) was started with an Outperform rating and a $10 price target at Wedbush. It previously closed up 1.5% at $6.69 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $5.25 to $11.15 and with a prior consensus target price of $12.25.

Despite a pullback in gold, and despite a sell-off in gold and gold miners, Argus sees 20% upside in two of the top gold mining companies. That said, investors were bailing out of their go-to defensive stock names as the China tariffs look to be rolled back under a phase-one trade deal allowed the stock market to hit yet even more all-time highs.

The RBC analysts are very positive on the banking stocks, and they think that the sector could be ready for a period of outperformance that was seen in the mid-1990s.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Citigroup, CommScope, CVS Health, CyberArk, Emerson Electric, Match, Mylan, Qualcomm, Roku, Square, Twitter, Vonage and many more.

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