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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Autodesk, Bausch Health, Charles Schwab, Darden Restaurants, GE, Home Depot, Kroger, Merit Medical, Starbucks and More

The futures were slightly lower Thursday morning as traders digested Wednesday’s final Federal Reserve comments of 2019. Fed Chair Jay Powell held the federal funds rates at the current 1.50% to 1.75% level, and the good news for investors is that rates are unlikely to change in 2020, which could mean another year of continued liquidity for the markets.

Investors are seeing more upside calls for 2020 stock market performance, and all those recession calls in recent months were simply nothing more than an error or head fakes. Many pressing issues and risks to consider remain now that the bull market has raged longer than in our lifetimes. Investors should be considering what changes they should make to their portfolios and assets heading into 2020.

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 others 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 calls. The consensus price targets mentioned and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations for Thursday, December 12, 2019.

Agree Realty Corp. (NYSE: ADC) was upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which also raised its price target on the shares to $82. That compares to the Wall Street consensus target of $82.20. The stock closed Wednesday at $70.83.

Allegion PLC (NASDAQ: ALLE) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays, which also reduced the price target to $125. The consensus target is $117.56, and the stock closed on Wednesday at $125.69. This looks like a valuation call as the shares closed near a 52-week high.

Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) was downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan. The analysts have set a $175 price objective, which compares with a much higher consensus target of $194.35. The stock closed on Wednesday at $179.64. The shares were down almost 2% in premarket action Thursday morning.

Bausch Health Companies Inc. (NYSE: BHC) was raised to Overweight from Neutral the price target pushed up to $38 at JPMorgan. The consensus price target is $31.35. The last trade on Wednesday came in at $29.33. Shares were trading up over 2% in the premarket.

Bloomin’ Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: BLMN) was started with a Buy rating and a $25 price target at Goldman Sachs. The consensus target is $23.62, and shares closed at $21.94 on Wednesday.

Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE: SCHW) was raised from Neutral to Buy with a $60 price target at Compass Point. The consensus target is $50.62. The stock was last seen trading at $49.60

Cheesecake Factory Inc. (NASDAQ: CAKE) was started with a Neutral rating at Goldman Sachs, which has set a $41 price target on the restaurant chain. The consensus price target is $46.63. The last trade on Wednesday came in at $40.74, down almost 2% on the day.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) was started with a Sell rating and a $115 price objective at Goldman Sachs. That compares with a much higher consensus target of $126.96. The stock closed at $117.44.

Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that the GPS device maker is finding success in the aviation and fitness markets. Shares most recently closed at $97.59, with a consensus price target of $87.67.