Stocks hit all-time highs before, during and after the U.S. signed the phase-one trade pact with China. The Dow Jones industrial, Nasdaq and S&P indexes were all indicated to open higher by 0.3% to 0.4% on Friday ahead of the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday.
Many investors still have not made portfolio changes since a very strong market in 2019. The markets are treating a risk-on trade as being better than sell-the-news at this time, despite being in overbought territory heading into earnings season. 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 Friday, January 17, 2020.
Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) was raised to Outperform from Perform with a $410 price target at Oppenheimer. Shares closed up 0.7% at $345.38, with a consensus target price of $348.08 and a high of $347.50 in prior days.
Amedisys Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) was started as Outperform with a $206 target price (versus a $181.32 prior close) at Credit Suisse.
Argenx S.E. (NASDAQ: ARGX) was reiterated as Outperform with a $184 target price at Wedbush Securities. The firm’s call is a supportive one after its details have emerged on its pivotal Phase 3 ADAPT study for myasthenia gravis was shown to mostly conform to its own expectations for a successful top-line readout in the middle of 2020. The stock closed down 1.7% at $150.04 on Thursday, and its market cap is close to $6.4 billion.
Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) was downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer. It previously closed at $192.50 and had a $200.04 consensus target price.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) had recovered handily from its $40.52 low last year, but after closing at $50.69 ahead of earnings, its shares fell by 7.8% to $46.72 in Thursday’s trading reaction, compared with a prior $54.82 consensus target price.
BP PLC (NYSE: BP) was featured in a new top Franchise Picks report in overseas coverage at Jefferies. The firm’s local target of 590 pence would imply upside of about 18.5% (close to $46, versus its recent close of $38.84). The analyst sees better upside and also gave the case for a higher dividend on top of an already-high 6.3% yield. This would imply a total return upside of close to 25% if the firm is correct.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) was reiterated as Buy and its target price was raised up to $170 from $145 (versus a $147.87 close) at Citigroup. Caterpillar has a consensus target price of $146.27.
CDW Corp. (NASDAQ: CDW) was downgraded to Underweight from Neutral and the target price was lowered to $124 from $126 (versus a $144.20 close) at Morgan Stanley.
CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) closed up 2.3% at $76.74 ahead of Thursday’s earnings, but the shares were trading lower by 3.3% at $74.20 after an hour in the after-hours trading session. RBC Capital Markets maintained it as Sector Perform but did lift its target price to $74 from $72.
Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $165 target price (versus a $151.02 close) at Argus. The independent research firm sees it breaking out on a chart basis from before the 2017 data breach as it is moving beyond those issues of the past after it posted its first quarterly gain in eight quarters at the end of the third quarter.
Helen of Troy Ltd. (NASDAQ: HELE) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that this consumer products company has one of the hottest brands on the market. Shares most recently closed at $185.32, with a consensus price target of $223.25.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was maintained as Neutral but its target price was raised to $60 from $53 at Citigroup. Intel closed up 1.2% at $59.66 ahead of the call, with a consensus target price of $57.19.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight and the target price was lowered to $155 from $170 at Morgan Stanley. IBM closed up 1% at $137.98 ahead of the call and was indicated down more than 1% ahead of Friday’s open. The 52-week range is $121.54 to $152.95, and the consensus target price was $147.68.
L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that the holidays couldn’t save Victoria’s Secret as same-store sales declined 3%. Shares last closed at $20.28 and have a consensus price target of $20.20.