Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Ambev, American Water Works, Apple, BeiGene, CenterPoint, Microsoft, NetApp, Pinterest, RealReal, Walmart and More

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Stocks were indicated to open slightly higher on Friday, and the S&P 500, Dow Jones industrials and Nasdaq have all been testing record highs again this week. Despite the record levels in the past two weeks, the investor community still has 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 15, 2019.

Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) was reiterated with a Buy rating and put on the Focus List at Argus in its post-earnings review.

Ambev S.A. (NYSE: ABEV) was reiterated with a Sell rating and its target price was lowered to $3.90 from $4.30 (versus a $4.15 prior close on its American depositary shares) at UBS.

American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) was started with a Neutral rating and a $127 target price (versus a $117.85 prior close) at JPMorgan. it has a consensus target price of $126.10 and a 52-week trading range of $85.89 to $129.89.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was reiterated with an Outperform rating and its price target was raised from $300 to $325 at Wedbush Securities. The firm noted a higher sum of the parts valuation, and it believes that any trade deal with China would remove an overhang on this name. JPMorgan reiterated its Overweight rating with a $290 target price on Apple, and Piper Jaffray reiterated its Overweight rating and raised its target to $290 from $270. Shares closed down 0.7% at $262.64 on Thursday, with a $1.18 trillion market cap and with a prior consensus target price of $255.51.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was last seen up about 6% at $60.050 after beating earnings expectations. Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its earnings estimates ahead after seeing that the upside was driven by logic and foundry operations, while NAND was showing signs of a recovery and DRAM was still correcting.

BeiGene Ltd. (NASDAQ: BGNE) was indicated up 5.5% at $207.00 after a first FDA approval for a Chinese cancer-based therapy for mantle cell lymphoma. Guggenheim reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $228 from $205. The shares closed at $196.40 on Thursday, and its 52-week range was $108.00 to $200.00, with an $11.7 billion market cap before this pop.

CenterPoint Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNP) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the target price was lowered to $28 from $31 at Credit Suisse. The firm noted that the Houston electric rate case outcome came in worse than expected and that it was lowering earnings estimates as a result. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey downgraded it to Hold from Buy, and Guggenheim downgraded it to Neutral from Buy. The stock was down almost 5% at $26.69 on Thursday and was indicated down another 5.4% at $25.25 on Friday.

Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) was raised to Neutral from Underperform and the target price was raised to $95 from $79 (versus a $100.12 close) at Credit Suisse.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was reiterated as Outperform with a $170 target price (versus a $147.31 close) at Wedbush. The call is after Amazon lived up to expectations by challenging the huge government/DoD JEDI cloud contract, but Wedbush believes Microsoft will come out on top as the sole award winner and that this is a game-changer for Microsoft in winning many other enterprise cloud battles over Amazon and Jeff Bezos.

Nabriva Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: NBRV) fell 6.5% to $1.99 on Thursday but was reiterated as Outperform with a $7.00 price target at Wedbush in a call issued late on Thursday. The firm said it is off to a strong start for Xenleta, with continued momentum expected into the winter season and beyond, and it sees a second product, Contepo, likely to be approved in mid-2020.

NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) was reiterated as Buy and the price target was raised to $75 from $66 at Argus, with the firm noting that despite an overall revenue declined in the second-quarter product revenue delivered strong 20% sequential growth and that NetApp is positioning itself for the long term with growth in its sales team and a focus on key markets and verticals.

Nice Ltd. (NASDAQ: NICE) was reiterated as Outperform with a $170 target price (versus a $157.25 close) at Wedbush.

Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) closed up about 0.6% at $209.79 ahead of earnings and was basically flat and looking for direction after the report. Wedbush reiterated it as Outperform with a $243 target price, with the view that its strong data center revenues and robust guidance support optimism around the data center business. Benchmark reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $240 from $210, and Mizuho reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $230 from $185. Citigroup raised its target to $245 from $220, Merrill Lynch raised its price objective to $275 from $250 and Wells Fargo raised its target to $240 from $220.

Pinterest Inc. (NYSE: PINS) was reiterated as Outperform with a $26 price target (versus a $19.60 close) at Wedbush, with the firm coming away opportunistic after a roundtable meeting with positive views on Pinterest’s long-term potential and its ability to build a scalable and differentiated digital media platform that will offer advertisers strong return on investment.

RealReal Inc. (NASDAQ: REAL) was reiterated as Outperform and with a $30 target price at Credit Suisse after it fell 3% to $17.91. The firm noted that the “re-commerce” opportunity is barely scratching the surface of its market opportunity and that RealReal is positioned to lead the category growth with higher gross merchandise value and serious margin improvement.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) closed down 0.27% at $120.65 on Thursday despite positive views on earnings that were there initially. Credit Suisse maintained its Neutral rating but raised its target to $115 from $105, and UBS reiterated its Neutral rating but raised its target to $125 from $115. Raymond James reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $130 from $120.

Zacks has released its two daily focus calls. The Bull of the Day is Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), noting that it’s back on track after a significant slowdown. This also follows multiple upgrades and target hikes elsewhere in that last two to three weeks. Zacks named Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: LYV) as its Bear of the Day, noting that the recent run-up mixed with a poor earnings view is adding up to a sky-high valuation.

Despite some slowdown in corporate technology-related spending, cybersecurity software and solutions continue on a huge roll. Jefferies has three top picks for 2020.

Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included AECOM, AGCO, AK Steel, AT& T, Beyond Meat, Cisco Systems, Energizer, Kraft Heinz, Nucor, Ping, SmileDirectClub, U.S. Steel, Verizon and many more.

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