Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Abbott Labs, AMD, Analog Devices, Applied Materials, Ford, Illumina, Medtronic, Tesla, Wells Fargo and More

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Stocks turned in a banner 2019, with roughly a 28% gain on the S&P 500, but that’s all over now and it’s time to look at 2020. The consensus targets on S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average stocks are aiming for positive returns in 2020 to keep the decade-long bull market still running, and many analysts will be making price target changes in the coming two weeks and into earnings season. The first trading day of 2020 was indicated to be up 165 points on the Dow and up 19 points on the S&P 500. The seasonal Santa Claus rally can succumb to profit-taking as investors moved into a new tax year, but the macro news is likely to be the real magnet for the markets in January.

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 mentioned and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv sell-side research service.

Most research departments generally hold off on their flood of new analyst calls until the first full trading week of the year, so analyst calls may be light on Thursday and Friday. These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations for the first trading day of 2020.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) was downgraded to In-Line from Outperform at Evercore ISI Group. Shares closed out 2019 at $86.86, with a $94.70 consensus target price.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was reiterated as Buy and its target price was raised to $58 from $40 at Nomura/Instinet. AMD closed 2019 out at $45.86, and its consensus target price was $37.77.

Analog Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: ADI) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that growth peaks of the past will take time to recover as analog solutions in a digital world evolve. Shares last closed at $118.84, with a consensus price target of $124.71.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was reiterated as Buy and its target price was raised to $75 from $68 at Nomura/Instinet. It closed 2019 at $61.04 a share, and its consensus target price was $67.52.

Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) was raised to Outperform from In-Line at Evercore ISI Group.

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight with a $575 target price (versus a $502.70 prior close) at Wells Fargo, although other asset managers saw downgrades in the call.

Core Laboratories N.V. (NYSE: CLB) closed out 2019 with a 20% drop to $37.67 on the final day of 2019. Stifel downgraded it to Hold from Buy and cut its target to $40 from $50.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) was downgraded to In-Line from Outperform at Evercore ISI Group. The stock closed out 2019 at $233.29, with a $250.06 consensus target price.

Fastly Inc. (NYSE: FSLY) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $24 target price at Piper Jaffray. The shares ended 2019 at $20.07, and they have a consensus target price of $26.11.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) was downgraded to Underperform from In-Line at Evercore ISI Group. Ford ended 2019 at $9.30, with a consensus target price of $10.16 and a 52-week trading range of $7.78 to $10.56.

Hanesbrands Inc. (NYSE: HBI) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Wells Fargo.

Henry Schein Inc. (NASDAQ: HSIC) was raised to In-Line from Underperform and the target price was raised to $70 from $61 (versus a $66.72 close) at Evercore ISI Group. The consensus target price is $68.40.