Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Akamai, AB InBev, Boeing, BP, Comcast, Disney, Duke, Gap, Kinder Morgan, Lyft, Occidental, Snap, Tesla and More

The Dow Jones industrial and S&P 500 futures were again at the 5% limit-down on Thursday morning, after Wednesday’s market drop took the bull market back into a bear market. Before you read one thing about analysts today, be sure to understand that a rerating is taking place in many sectors and in many of the top stocks. Investors and analysts alike may still have their favorite brands and companies, but whatever the target prices were last week or last month are going to come down.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week in an effort to find new trading ideas for investors and traders. Some of the daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy, while some calls cover stocks to sell or to avoid. As noted above, it should be expected that even the great market darlings will have analysts rerating the shares; i.e., lowering target prices. If Buy and Outperform ratings are maintained, the very high price targets are certain to come down. We also are starting to see analyst upgrades while they lower their price targets in the same call.

A market dilemma that has always been in place is rediscovered the hard way in times of panic: A drop of 20% takes a 25% rally to get back to even. A drop of one-third takes a 50% rally to come back to even. And a drop of 50% then requires a 100% rally to get back to even.

Thursday’s analyst calls are 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.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations from Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and the target price was raised to $105 from $100 (versus an $87.02 prior close) at Robert W. Baird.

Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A./N.V. (NYSE: BUD) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets, with the firm citing excess share price weakness and its aggressive debt reduction efforts.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight and the target price was cut to $210 from $370 at JPMorgan.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

CNOOC Ltd. (NYSE: CEO) was downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at Credit Suisse, after two other analysts downgraded its shares this week.

Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) was maintained as Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Markets, but the target price was lowered to $46 from $50 in the call.

Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight with a $104 target price (versus a $90.94 close, after a 4.3% drop) at Barclays. Morgan Stanley maintained its Equal Weight rating but lowered its target price to $99 from $108.

Focus Financial Partners Inc. (NASDAQ: FOCS) was raised to Buy from Neutral but its target was lowered to $30 (versus a $21.59 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) was maintained as Neutral but the target price was cut all the way down to $12 from $20 at Wedbush Securities. The shares closed down almost 12% at $10.97 on Wednesday.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HLT) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform and its target price was cut to $88 from $124 (versus an $81.09 close) at Raymond James. Shares were indicated down another 9% or so to $73.50 on Thursday.

Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: HST) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform and the target price was cut to $13 from $18 (versus an $11.66 close, after an 8.5% drop) at BMO Capital Markets.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: JAZZ) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform but its target price was lowered to $166 from $175 (versus a $108.04 close) at Bernstein.

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