Top Analysts Upgrades and Downgrades: Baidu, Fiserv, Virgin Galactic, Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals and More

The futures traded slightly higher on Thursday, and with an early market close, it is likely to be a very low trading volume day. While there was some consternation over the president possibly not signing the new stimulus bill, the objections over the pork-laden package and low payout to citizens may force some changes. With just a few trading days left in 2021, investors should be reviewing portfolios and adjusting positioning for 2021.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week with a goal of finding new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy. Other calls 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 seen on Thursday, December 24, 2020.

Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that the Google of China is rumored to become the Tesla of China with proprietary artificial intelligence plus advanced driver-assistance systems. Shares most recently closed at $193.36 but have a consensus price target of $181.87.

BioXcel Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BTAI) was reiterated at Truist Securities with a Buy rating and a massive $150 price target. The Wall Street consensus target price is $105.80, and the last trade on Wednesday was reported at $54.01.

Celcuity Inc. (NASDAQ: CELC) saw its price target raised to $14 from $11 at H.C. Wainwright, where the analyst always reiterated their Buy rating on the company. The consensus target is $15, and the shares were last seen on Wednesday at $9.71.

Columbia Property Trust Inc. (NYSE: CXP) was reiterated with a Buy rating and a $15 price target at Truist Securities. The consensus target is $15.20, and the shares closed Wednesday’s trading at $14.26.

Fiserv Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) was started with a Buy rating at Tigress Financial. The shares have traded in a 52-week range of $73.50 to $125.05. The consensus price target is $135.31, which compares with Wednesday’s close of $110.64.

Lovesac Co. (NASDAQ: LOVE) was reiterated with an Outperform rating and a $40 price target at Oppenheimer. The consensus target is $45.75, and shares ended Wednesday at $44.97

IQIYI Inc. (NASDAQ: IQ) saw its price target lowered to $18 from $25 at Loop Capital. The consensus price target is $24.83, and Wednesday’s close was $17.11 a share.

Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: RARE) saw its price target raised to $185 from $110 at Truist Securities. The consensus target is $116.83, but the stock closed way above that level Wednesday at $177.39.

Verrica Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRCA) saw its target price raised to $21 from $18 at H.C. Wainwright. That compares with the $18 consensus target. The shares were last seen on Wednesday at $12.63, up a sharp 12% on the day.

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that the game-changer in space tourism may have to wait years before sales justify its astronomical valuation. Shares last closed at $26.82 and have a consensus price target of $28.11.

Voyager Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VYGR) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Cantor Fitzgerald, which also dropped the price target to $10. The consensus target is $14.09. Wednesday’s close was at $8.44 a share.

With even moderate appreciation in the shares prices of five Dividend Aristocrats, investors could be looking at double-digit total return potential. In a market that is very long in the tooth, that makes sense now.

Also, BofA Securities recently named 11 top stock picks for 2021, and five top oil companies expect 2020 deals to boost 2021 dividends.

Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Alphabet, Facebook, IAC/Interactive, Qualcomm, Royal Dutch Shell and Square.