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

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.