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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Datadog, Delta Air, Eli Lilly, FedEx, Halliburton, Kinder Morgan, Skechers, Teladoc, Waste Management and More

Stocks have hit all-time highs again this week on the heels of last week’s phase-one “announced but unsigned” trade pact between the United States and China. Stocks were indicated marginally higher on Wednesday morning, but with less than 0.1% gains in any of the indexes the outcome of the day seemed far from set. Investors rightfully have been moving away from those imminent recession calls in favor of growth and risk again as they are seeing higher forecasts for 2020. That said, many pressing issues, risks and potential pitfalls remain, as the bull market has raged on for longer than a decade. Investors need to consider what changes they should be making for 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 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 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 Wednesday, December 17, 2019.

Axos Financial Inc. (NYSE: AX) was started as Outperform with a $35 target price (versus a $29.78 prior close) at Wedbush Securities.

Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE: BXP) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.

Cerence Inc. (NASDAQ: CRNC) was reiterated as Outperform with a $23 target price (versus an $18.91 close) at Wedbush, with the firm noting a strong first quarter already out of the gates and that momentum is building into 2020.

Children’s Place Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCE) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that this stock is a falling knife. Shares last closed at $61.58 and have a consensus price target of $64.33.

Datadog Inc. (NASDAQ: DDOG) was started with a Buy rating and a $50 target price (versus a $37.18 close) at Rosenblatt.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $70 target price (versus a $58.69 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight and the target price was raised to $150 from $115 at Morgan Stanley.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) was reiterated as Outperform and the target price was raised to $170 from $168 at Credit Suisse.

Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $23 target price at BMO Capital Markets.

Healthcare Trust of America Inc. (NYSE: HTA) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan.

Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight and the target price was lowered to $21 from $22 at JPMorgan.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) was started with a Neutral rating and a $23 price target at Piper Jaffray. Kinder Morgan closed down 0.3% at $20.51, and it has a consensus target price of $22.00.

Republic Services Inc. (NYSE: RSG) was started with a Neutral rating and a $99 target price at CIBC.