Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Amex, Boeing, Caterpillar, Lennar, Simon, Sirius, Six Flags, Tesla, Walmart, Zynga and More

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The market panic and daily attempts to recover have led to unprecedented volatility, and unfortunately the fears of the next financial crisis are back. As you are well aware, the rapid spread of the coronavirus is creating havoc with businesses and consumers. If analysts and investors alike have not adjusted their sales and revenue projections lower for just about every type of company they follow, it’s probably because they do not even know how to calculate a pandemic shut-in society’s economic impact with more and more mandated government closures of businesses. That said, ratings changes are still being made, and still trying to think with a “this too shall pass” view is becoming cloudier every few hours.

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 cover stocks to sell or to avoid. As noted above, ratings and or price targets are rapidly chasing down the earnings and revenue estimates, and it’s no easy task even to start guessing when suddenly 20% of America’s jobs may be at risk.

Perhaps the hardest part to keep in mind today is that if the market has fallen by one-third, it takes a 50% rally to get back to the peak, and if it has fallen by 50% it takes a 100% rally to get back to its peak.

Wednesday’s analyst calls are in a quick-hit summary for easy reading, and additional comments and trading data have been added on many of the calls. While the consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv sell-side research service, we would caution that many price targets and earnings estimates still have not been factored into those consensus readings.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations from Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

S&P downgraded the global economy’s outlook on Tuesday and sees global recession in 2020 with risks to the downside. More and more brokerage firms have followed suit with much lower GDP expectations and a tanking job market. We have tried to warn readers about this, but the stock market ultimately could face a very long trading halt if this gets too bad, and if nothing else they may tighten up the circuit breakers or extend how long the halts last.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) was downgraded to Sell from Buy with a $1 target price (versus a $2.48 close) at Citigroup.

American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) was reiterated as Underperform and its target price was lowered to $95 from $120 at Credit Suisse. Shares closed up less than 1% at $86.58 on Tuesday and were indicated down over 5% at $82.00 on Wednesday.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) was maintained as Neutral but its target price was cut to $183 from $322 (versus a $124.14 prior close) at Robert W. Baird. Boeing was last seen down another 15% at $105.20 on Wednesday morning.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) was raised to Neutral from Sell but its target price was cut to $100 from $110 at UBS. The stock was up 7% at $100.20 on Tuesday but was indicated down over 6% at $94.00.

Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight with a $375 target price at Barclays.

Cloudera Inc. (NYSE: CLDR) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that having your head in the cloud will be a good thing once the market comes to its senses. Shares most recently closed at $6.64, with a consensus price target of $11.87.

Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that WTI crude is down at $26 and that is all you need to know. Shares last closed at $20.23 and have a consensus price target of $110.63.

Domino’s Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $351 target price (versus a $298.74 close) at Longbow.

D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $38 target price (versus a $29.76 close) at JPMorgan.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) was up 4.9% at $94.96 ahead of earnings but was last seen down 4.7% at $90.50 with a weak market and after withdrawing guidance. Raymond James maintained its Outperform rating but cut the target price to $150 from $167. Citigroup maintained its Buy rating but cut its target to $140 from $180. Credit Suisse maintained FedEx as Outperform but lowered its target to $121 from $159.

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) was maintained as Buy but its target price was cut to $24 from $29 at Needham.

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