Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Barrick Gold, BlackRock, Comcast, Microsoft, NextEra, Ping, Shopify, Tesla, 3D Systems, UnitedHealth and More

Stocks hit all-time highs heading into and after the signing of the phase-one U.S./China trade pact. The market indexes were up again on Thursday morning, with the Dow Jones industrials indicated above 29,100 and the S&P 500 above 3,300. While the indexes remain overbought and while some stocks seem already ahead of themselves in just the first two weeks of 2020, many investors still have not made portfolio changes during and after a very strong market in 2019.

There are many market risks, concerns and headlines that may come with worry, but global growth may see a rekindled strength this year, while interest rates are expected to remain stable. This is also an election year in which much is at stake, and strategists are by and large calling for single-digit percentage gains in 2020.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week with a goal of finding 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 analyst calls in a quick-hit summary for easy reading, and additional comments and trading data have been added on many calls. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv sell-side research service.

Our 2020 Bull/Bear Outlook sees the Dow rising by about 7.4% to 30,650 this year, but there are outliers that could help the Dow rise by over 10% after a very strong 2019. The upside scenario puts Dow 32,000 easily within reach if only a few things go right this year.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations from Thursday, January 16, 2020.

Alamos Gold Inc. (NYSE: AGI) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the target price was lowered to $7.50 from $10.00 (versus a $5.76 prior close) at Credit Suisse. The consensus target price was $9.01 ahead of this call.

Avangrid Inc. (NYSE: AGR) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $49 target price (versus a $51.03 close) at Goldman Sachs. It had a $50.06 consensus target price.

Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $22 target price (versus a $17.90 close) at Credit Suisse. The stock had a prior $20.64 consensus target price, and the 52-week trading range is $11.52 to $20.07.

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK), which just made a major commitment to ESG and sustainable investing, rose 2.3% to $530.26 after earnings and as assets under management reached $7 trillion. Citigroup reiterated its Buy rating and raised the target price to $600 from $580.

Columbia Sportswear Co. (NASDAQ: COLM) was maintained as Outperform at Wedbush Securities, but the firm cut its target price to $112 from $126 (versus a $96.89 close) and removed the apparel maker from the Best Ideas List ahead of its earnings results, which are due on February 6.

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) was reiterated as Overweight and the target price was raised to $51 from $50 (versus a $46.28 close) at Wells Fargo.

Digital Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE: DLR) was raised to Buy from Hold and its target price was raised to $141 from $132 (versus a $120.99 close) at Jefferies. The data center-operating REIT was indicated up 1.6% at $123.00 on Thursday, and its consensus target price was $134.12 ahead of the call.

Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral with a $4 target price (versus a $4.01 close) at Credit Suisse. The 52-week range is $2.53 to $14.53.

Easterly Government Properties Inc. (NYSE: DEA) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Eversource Energy (NYSE: ES) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with an $87 target price (versus an $87.32 close) at Goldman Sachs. It has a 52-week range of $66.52 to $87.73 and a consensus target price of $85.57.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NYSE: GSK) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays.

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