Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Applied Materials, Bank of America, BP, Goldman Sachs, Northrop Grumman, PayPal, PG&E, Yum Brands and More

The market seesawed back and forth on Thursday before closing higher, as investors grappled with the potential for a further retracement of the “melt-up” move stocks have made. The futures on Friday morning indicated more selling could be on the way. Investors are generally dealing with bad news on earnings and in the economic reports, but until this week the market had been in a steady recovery since the panic-selling lows of March. Some investors are considering new ideas to decide how to be best positioned ahead of summer and for the rest of 2020.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is to find new ideas for long-term investors and short-term traders alike. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, and some cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

Analysts are still making many upgrades, downgrades, reiterations and initiations ahead of and after key earnings reports. While many analysts are still cutting price targets and earnings estimates for the coming quarters and the year, many are still maintaining their prior official ratings.

Remember, no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision. Consensus analyst target prices are from Refinitiv.

These are the top analyst calls seen on Friday, May 15, 2020.

Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital, which raised the target price to $30. That compares to the consensus target of $24.72. The stock traded early Friday at $14.84.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price target lifted to $72 at B. Riley FBR. The consensus target is $65.48. Shares were trading at $52.16.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that lockdowns, new tech and low interest rates are causing financials to lag. Shares were trading at $21.38, with a consensus price target of $27.15.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. Shares have traded in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $43, and the consensus price target is $32.26. The shares were trading at $21.74.

CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) was raised to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital Market, which also raised the price target to $29. The consensus target is $28.50, and shares traded at $14.55.

CMS Energy Corp. (NYSE: CMS) was started with a Neutral rating and a $55 target price at Mizhou. The consensus target is $64.21. The stock traded at $53.64 Friday morning.

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