It might not be fair or nice to say that the stock market caught the coronavirus, but what was a raging bull market up until February has turned into a volatile and parabolic market that needs some serious antipsychotic medication. Thursday’s drop in the Dow Jones industrials was almost another 1,000 points. The Nasdaq lost 279 points and S&P 500 lost 106 points. The Federal Reserve’s emergency rate cut and other national and international stimulus and containment efforts have so far been ignored or erased. Stock futures were also pointing to an open more than 2% lower, despite a better than expected payrolls number.
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 have not hit the panic button, as they maintain positive ratings on many of the top stocks, unless there has been a major change inside of a company.
Despite the volatility due to 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.
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 Friday, March 6, 2020.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $60 target price at Atlantic Equities, and Craig-Hallum raised its rating to Buy from Hold as well. Wedbush Securities reiterated its Outperform rating and $60 target price. The calls are after its 2020 Investor Day gave more long-term upside with new products and opportunities ahead. AMD closed down 3.99% at $48.11 on Thursday and was indicated up 1.75% at $48.99 on Friday.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was maintained as Neutral with a $295 target price at Nomura/Instinet. The firm noted that its supply constraints now seem to be filtering into the sales channel, but even as those constraints are likely to be short term and should recovery to full production capacity soon, the investor focus may now shift to the impact on demand.
Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, with the independent research firm noting a longer and worse coronavirus impact. Citigroup started coverage with a Buy rating and a $2,000 target price. The stock closed down almost 5% at $1,647.44 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $1,592.45 to $2,094.00.
Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX) was maintained as Outperform but its target was cut to $46 from $51 at Credit Suisse.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) was maintained as Neutral with a $47 target price (versus a $39.57 prior close) at Nomura/Instinet, with the firm noting an update after the loss of David Goeckeler as a top leader to go to Western Digital as its CEO.
Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) reported earnings on Thursday after the close, with shares indicated down 1.5% at $311.00, after closing down 1.55% at $315.76. Raymond James reiterated its Outperform rating but raised its $315 prior target price up to $325. UBS reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $355 from $335.
Cryoport Inc. (NASDAQ: CYRX) was reiterated as Buy with a $25 target price (versus a $17.37 close) at Janney, with the firm noting more additional filings and approvals from partners are likely in 2020. Needham reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $23 from $22 as well.
Cullen/Frost Banker Inc. (NYSE: CFR) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, with the firm reducing earnings estimates to reflect this week’s rate cut and another 50 basis points worth of cuts by May.
Eloxx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ELOX) was maintained as Buy and the target was cut to $13 from $14 (versus a $3.45 close) at Janney, with the firm noting that the discontinued cystinosis study is not that surprising.
Expedia Group Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) was started with a Buy rating and a $130 target price (versus a $91.51 close, after an almost 6% drop) at Citigroup.
First Midwest Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ: FMBI) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, with the firm reducing earnings estimates to reflect this week’s rate cut and another 50 basis points worth of cuts by May.
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