Investing

Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: BioMarin, Checkpoint Software, Cinemark, Fortinet, Palo Alto, Regeneron, Shake Shack, Ventas, Zscaler and More

gopixa / iStock

The futures traded lower Thursday morning, as once again on Wednesday we posted record highs on both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq before the markets turned lower. The new all-time high for the S&P 500 helped mark what was the shortest bear market in stock market history. It is important to remember that this is really the effect of a market of stocks with many leaders hitting higher and higher levels rather than the entire market all having recovered. Many investors missed the recovery as the recession forced them out of the market. Investors also have been looking for new ideas for how to be positioned in the second half of 2020 and ahead of the election.

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

Now that stocks have recovered so much, analyst calls basically have normalized, with fewer extreme target changes. Some calls are praising growth over value, and others are focused on base economy stocks that have already begun recovering. Remember that no single analyst call should ever be used as a basis to buy or sell a stock. Consensus analyst target data is from Refinitiv.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations from Thursday, August 20, 2020.

Amedisys Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) was started with an Overweight rating and a $290 price target at Barclays. That compares to a Wall Street consensus target of $250.31. The last trade on Wednesday was reported at $236.17.

AZZ Inc. (NYSE: AZZ) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that the industry is doing well but the stock is under earnings pressure. Shares last closed at $34.18 and have a consensus price target of $44.25.

Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: BLDP) was raised to Outperform from Sector Perform at National Bank Financial. The consensus price target is $21.05, and shares closed Wednesday at $15.96.

BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair. The shares have traded in a 52-week range of $62.88 to $131.95, and the consensus price target is $115.86. The stock closed Wednesday down a massive 35% to $76.71, as the FDA rejected the company’s hemophilia gene therapy.

Checkpoint Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) was resumed in coverage at Deutsche Bank with a Hold rating and a $128 price target. The consensus target is $126.73. The last trade Wednesday came in at $128.08.

Cinemark Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CNK) was raised to Buy from Hold at Benchmark, which set an $18 price objective. The consensus target price is $16.18. The last trade Wednesday was reported at $11.15.

Dana Inc. (NYSE: DAN) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays. The shares have traded in a 52-week range of $4.22 to $19.21. The consensus price target is $16.35, and the last trade Wednesday was reported at $13.18.

Elanco Animal Health Inc. (NYSE: ELAN) was raised to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. The consensus price objective is $25.50, and the stock closed above that level on Wednesday at $25.80.

Elastic N.V. (NYSE: ESTC) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup. The posted consensus price target is $97.77, and that compares to a Wednesday close of $97.30 after the shares rose over 4%. The stock was up an additional 3% in premarket trading.

Encompass Health Corp. (NYSE: EHC) was started with an Equal Weight rating and a $71 price objective at Barclays. The consensus target price is $87.23. The shares were last seen trading at $62.23 apiece.

Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) was started with a Hold rating and a $131 price target at Deutsche Bank. The consensus target price is $139.45. The stock closed at $129.51 on Wednesday.

LHC Group Inc. (NASDAQ: LHCG) was started with an Overweight rating at Barclays, which has a $247 price target. The consensus target is $223.80, and the last Wednesday trade came in at $202.79.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: NUS) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that a big jump in earnings estimates means this stock deserves a new look. Shares most recently closed at $47.20 and have a consensus price target of $51.71.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) was started with a Buy rating and a massive $328 price target at Deutsche Bank. The much lower consensus estimate is $269.63, and a Wednesday closing price was $269.48.

Power Integrations Inc. (NASDAQ: POWI) was raised to Market Perform from Underperform at Northland Capital, which also has a $65 price target. The consensus target is $58.30. Shares were last seen trading at $57.30.

Qiagen N.V. (NASDAQ: QGEN) was resumed in coverage with a $60 price target at JPMorgan. The consensus target is $449.80. The final trade on Wednesday was posted at $52.42.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Benchmark. Shares have been on a massive run as the company searches for a COVID-19 vaccine with Roche, and they closed Wednesday at $629.63

Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) was raised to Outperform from Neutral at Wedbush. The stock has traded in a wild 52-week range from $30.01 to $105.84. The consensus price target for the fast-food favorite is $51.62. The last trade on Wednesday was reported at $53.92. The stock was up over 3% in the premarket.

Ventas Inc. (NYSE: VTR) was downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James, where the analysts have set a $45 price objective. The consensus target is just $35.06. The last trade Wednesday hit the tape at $40.37.

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (NYSE: WPM) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets. The consensus price target for the precious metals royalty company is $55.33, and the last trade on Wednesday came in at $51.52 per share.

Zscaler Inc. (NYSE: ZS) was started with a Buy rating and a $171 price target at Deutsche Bank. The consensus target is only $108.09, but the last trade on Wednesday was reported at $128.26.

Note that, despite the massive record market run, portfolio managers remain very bullish.

Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Agilent Technologies, Cree, Deere, Gilead Sciences, Home Depot, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Walmart and Walt Disney.

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.