Investing

Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: ABB, Apple, Baidu, Casper, GE, Groupon, JPMorgan, Micron, PPD, Verizon, Wayfair and More

Jon C. Ogg

The markets may be off to a new week, but the stock market’s panic selling last week was the worst week since the financial crisis. It took only six trading days to enter the 10% correction mode from February’s all-time highs and the Dow Jones industrials were down 16% at the lows on Friday. China’s manufacturing data was the worst on record in a fresh readout from February, but the futures market indications had the major indexes indicated to open down just about 0.5% on Monday.

Despite the volatility around coronavirus outbreak fears and the added pressure coming from the political election cycle this year, many investors have not made that many major changes to their holdings after the incredible gains from 2019.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week 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. It is worth noting that many analysts are also not hitting the panic button as they are maintaining positive ratings on many of the top stocks, unless there has been a major change inside of a company.

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 of the 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 from Monday, March 2, 2020.

ABB Ltd. (NYSE: ABB) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. It closed down 1.4% at $21.64 per American depositary share on Friday and traded down over 1% at $21.40 on Monday. Its consensus target price was $26.59.

Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) was maintained as Overweight and its target price was raised to $72 from $67 (versus a $58.13 prior close) at Stephens.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was raised to Outperform from Perform with a $320 target price at Oppenheimer, with the firm calling Apple out as oversold and that its products and services will hold up better than competing products in uncertain times.

Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) was raised to Overweight from Neutral and its target price was raised to $150 from $130 at JPMorgan. Daiwa lowered it to Outperform from Buy and cut its target to $135 from $160 despite the firm noting that Baidu’s core business is likely to grow again with stronger sales from health care and advertising. The stock closed up seven cents at $119.98 a share on Friday, and its premarket level was up 1.6% at $121.90 on Monday.

Beam Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BEAM) was started with an Outperform rating and a $32 target price (versus a $22.49 close) at Wedbush Securities, which called it undervalued based on its differentiated and potentially best-in-class gene-editing platform of base editing. Jefferies started it as Buy with a $32 target price, and Barclays started it as Overweight with a $32 target.

Casper Sleep Inc. (NYSE: CSPR) has seen its quiet period come to an end after its $12 initial public offering this year, and the 0.2% drop to $9.02 on Friday is against a post-IPO trading range of $8.00 to $15.85. Goldman Sachs started it as Buy with a $16 target, and Citigroup started it as Buy with a $12 target. Morgan Stanley started it at Equal Weight with a $12 target price, and Piper Sandler started it at Overweight with a $15 target price.

Charles River Laboratories International Inc. (NYSE: CRL) was started with a Buy rating and a $190 target price (versus a $155.57 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Dropbox Inc. (NASDAQ: DBX) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that it is finally looking ripe for a buy as this cloud storage giant falls to an attractive valuation. Shares most recently closed at $19.56, with a consensus price target of $28.92.

Estsy Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) was reiterated as Buy and its target was raised to $75 from $65 (versus a $57.81 close) at Citigroup. It had a $65.56 consensus target price.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB) was raised to Outperform from Neutral with a $32 target price (versus a $24.40 close) at Robert W. Baird.