With Friday having been the last trading day of March and the first quarter, it was a rather busy week. The Dow was up over 5% and the S&P 500 was up over 6% so far in 2017, coming into Friday. What cannot be ignored is that investors have continued to buy market pullbacks in an eight-year bull market, and those same investors are looking for new trading and investing ideas.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week, which this ends up being hundreds of analyst calls over the course of each week. Our goal is to find new ideas for our readers. Some analyst reports cover stocks to buy, and the week of March 31 brought some significant upside targets in analyst upgrades and initiations with solid Buy and Outperform ratings in major technology stocks.
For some balance, investors should keep in mind that the calendar is entering a time where the markets might need a breather and when technology stocks are facing a slower three to four months ahead on a historical basis.
These were some of the top technology analyst calls for the week of March 27 to March 31, 2017:
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $1,100 price target at Loop Capital on March 31. It was given a similar upside target at Barclays this week as well, and Amazon saw its price target raised at Stifel from $912 to $1,025. Shares traded Friday at $886.54, in a 52-week range of $585.25 to $890.35. The consensus target price is $948.61.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) hit a new high this week, and UBS has outlined how Apple shares could hit $200. What is amazing here is that the UBS price target is not even at the highest of the analyst universe. Instinet raised its Apple price target to $165 from $135. Needham raised its Apple target price to $165 from $150 during the last week of March.
Broadcom Ltd. (NASDAQ: AVGO) was started as Outperform with a $265 price target (versus a $220.04 prior close) at Macquarie on March 31. Analysts have been raising their expectations for Broadcom in recent weeks, and its shares ended trading at $218.96 on Friday. Its 52-week range is $139.18 to $227.75.
CyberArk Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYBR) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs on March 30. It also was raised to Outperform from In-Line and the target price was raised to $60 from $51 (versus a $49.04 prior close) at Evercore ISI on March 29. CyberArk shares closed trading at $50.87 on Friday, and its 52-week range is $37.00 to $59.28.
Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) was raised to Outperform from Neutral and the target price was raised to $50 from $38 (versus a $36.56 close) at Robert W. Baird on March 29. Fortinet has a 52-week range of $28.08 to $38.56, and its stock was trading at $38.35 on Friday’s close.
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) also gets grouped in with the tech stocks, but it is perhaps a misnomer due to social-couponing for retail spending. Groupon was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $5 price target (versus a $3.99 prior close) at Citigroup. The 52-week range is $2.92 to $5.94, and a consensus analyst price target is $4.91.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $40 price target (versus a $35.75 prior close) at Macquarie on March 31. Intel has a 52-week range of $29.50 to $38.45 and a consensus analyst target of $40.03.
Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) saw its price target raised to $98 from $95 at RBC Capital Markets after the company reported one the strongest quarters in recent years as billings jumped. BMO also raised its price target on the shares to $90 from $75. Those targets compare with the current Wall Street consensus target of $87.16. The 52-week trading range was $68.54 to $85.01. The stock closed Monday at $82.20, and shares were trading almost 5% higher in the premarket at that time. Red Hat shares ended the week at $86.50, and its new 52-week high after solid earnings is now $87.91.
Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) falls under tech due to its social media efforts, but some of us think of it as a waste of time more than anything. The analysts came out on March 27 with their post-IPO coverage after the quiet period had ended. Many of the underwriting firms were far more positive than the independent analysts who said to sell Snap (should you be surprised?). Cowen, Morgan Stanley, RBC, Jefferies, Goldman Sachs and more firms were among the positive analyst calls.
More key analyst calls and research reports have been seen as follows:
- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey has five reasons to keep buying the top chip stocks.
- Merrill Lynch has six top software picks to buy now.
- Seven stocks with over 50% to 100% upside from recent analyst calls.
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