Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AMD, Applied Materials, Carnival, Dell, Karuna Therapeutics, Lowe's, Noble Energy, PayPal, Square, Target, Virgin Galactic and More

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Stocks hit new highs earlier in the week, but more caution about a trade deal has added some uncertainty to the markets. Stocks were mixed on Thursday after having been lower all morning, but the direction of the day seemed far from certain. Investors are starting to see upside targets being issued for 2020. Despite markets at record levels recently, 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 to make in 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 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 Thursday, November 21, 2019.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was down 0.75% at $40.98 on Wednesday and was indicated down 0.9% at $40.60 on Thursday. Northland Securities downgraded AMD to Market Perform from Outperform with a $36 target price. It had a $35.57 consensus target price, and its 52-week range is $16.03 to $41.79.

Alliant Energy Corp. (NYSE: LNT) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $58 target price (versus a $53.14 prior close) at Barclays.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY) was up 10.5% at $108.21 on Wednesday after an FDA approval for it to treat a rare metabolic disorder. Barclays reiterated its Overweight rating and raised the target price to $131 from $125.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $48 target price (versus a $59.65 close) at UBS. It also was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that this company posted stronger-than-expected results on November 14. Shares closed down 1.8% to $59.65 on Wednesday and were indicated down almost 3% more at $57.90 on Thursday. The consensus price target is $67.09.

Builders FirstSource Inc. (NASDAQ: BLDR) was started as Buy with a $29 price target (versus a $25.36 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $47 target price (versus a $43.67 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Children’s Place Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCE) was removed from the Best Ideas List at Wedbush Securities, with the firm noting its investment price discipline. The shares closed down almost 6% at $71.54 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $69.94 to $134.52.

Dell Technologies Inc. (NYSE: DELL) was started as Neutral with a $60 target price at Nomura/Instinet. Dell closed down 1.67% at $55.27 a day ahead of the call, and its consensus target price was $66.16.

Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $98 target price (versus an $87.13 close) at Barclays.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NYSE: GSK) was raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS, with the firm noting that GSK has lagged major pharma stocks in Europe this year and showing indications that its business is turning the corner with better results in HIV, oncology and shingles vaccine.

Karuna Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: KRTX) has seen a wild week, and it priced $250 million in share sales after a pop from very positive schizophrenia treatment study news took its shares up to $96.00 from $17.68 earlier in the week, and it closed as high as $123.99 before closing down 12% at $108.95 on Wednesday. Wedbush reiterated its Outperform rating with a $134 target, and the firm noted this capital raise should fund it to profitability in 2023.

KLA Corp. (NASDAQ: KLAC) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $140 target price (versus a $173.67 close) at UBS. It closed down 1.3% on Wednesday and was indicated down another 3% at $168.50 on Thursday.

Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $240 target price (versus a $274.13 prior close) at UBS.

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