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Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apache, Abbott, Box, Dick's, Lululemon, NetApp, PayPal, Square, ViacomCBS, Visa and More

The S&P 500 has continued to surge to new all-time highs this week, but Thursday was seeing profit-taking into an overbought stock market. 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 rest 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.

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 27, 2020.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) was reiterated as Overweight and its price target was raised to $112 from $106 at Morgan Stanley. Shares closed at $103.19 on Wednesday but were indicated up almost 8% at $111.00 after an emergency use COVID-19 test was approved that only costs $5 and takes 15 minutes.

Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) was raised to Outperform from In-Line and its target was raised to $21 from $17 (versus a $14.08 prior close, after a 3.9% drop) at Evercore ISI. It had a $16.98 consensus target price.

Box Inc. (NYSE: BOX) was up almost 7% at $19.29 ahead of earnings and was up over 9% more at $21.18 afterward. Morgan Stanley reiterated its Overweight rating and raised its target price to $25 from $23.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) was up over 15% at $53.85 on Wednesday after its earnings report. Morgan Stanley upgraded it to Overweight from Equal Weight and raised its target price to $65 from $40. Citigroup reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $60 from $41.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at BNP Paribas.

Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) was started as Buy with a $400 price target at Mizuho.

NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) was maintained as Underweight after earnings but its target price was raised to $38 from $34 at Morgan Stanley. Citigroup reiterated its Sell rating but raised its target to $39 from $37. Shares closed up 1% at $42.21 and were indicated up over 8% at $45.90 on Thursday morning.

PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) was started as Buy with a $285 price target at Mizuho.

Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) was up 6.4% at $216.74 on Wednesday and was indicated up another 0.8% at $218.50 on Thursday. Morgan Stanley reiterated it as Overweight and raised its target price to $270 from $245.

Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) was started as Buy with a $225 price target at Mizuho.

VBI Vaccines Inc. (NASDAQ: VBIV) was raised to Strong Buy from Outperform and its target price was raised to $9 from $8 (versus a $3.21 prior close) at Raymond James. It was indicated up 35% at $4.36 on Thursday after positive coronavirus preclinical data.

ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAC) was raised to Equal Weight from Underweight with a $30 price target (versus a $27.89 prior close) at Wells Fargo. It had a $26 consensus target price ahead of the call.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) was started as Buy with a $250 price target at Mizuho.

WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) was started as Buy with a $225 price target at Mizuho.

With the market horribly overbought and yields at generational lows, top large-cap pharmaceutical giants make sense for investors also looking for dependable income. We found five that are all rated Buy across Wall Street.

Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Apple, Cheniere Energy, Envision Solar, Livent, Lyft, Nikola, Nio, Roku, Salesforce.com, Shopify, Uber and Vroom.