10 Tech Giants Receiving the Most Analyst Upgrades and Target Hikes Ahead of Earnings

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Apple: Already Gave Repatriation and Reinvesting Plans

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is expected to report earnings on February 1, and it seems to score higher targets almost daily. That said, some analysts have trimmed expectations in recent weeks after it hit so many highs and now that its market cap is the largest in the world at $916 billion. Its shares are up about 5.5% so far in 2018.

Apple has already outlined a $350 billion commitment to America, including a one-time $38 billion repatriation tax. Longbow decided to downgrade Apple to Neutral from Buy on January 17. Here are some of the other calls in the mighty Apple seen since the start of 2018:

  • Mizuho maintained a Neutral rating on January 19, but raised its target to $175 from $160.
  • Daiwa (Outperform) raised its price target to $188 from $160 on January 18.
  • Merrill Lynch (Buy) raised its price objective from $180 to $220 on January 17.
  • Maxim Group (Buy) raised its price target to $204 from $193 on January 12.
  • Barclays raised its target price to $174 from $162 on January 5.

At $178.46 a share, Apple has a consensus target price of $189.22. That target was closer to $187.50 a month earlier and just under $175 just 90 days ago.

Cisco Systems: Wants Its Year 2,000 Dot-Com Bubble Back

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) has decided to get back into the bull market mode as well, with its shares up 7.8% so far in 2018. The networking giant has been changing its model, and its off-month quarterly cycle means that earnings will not come until mid-February. Three hikes have been seen so far in 2018:

  • KeyBanc Capital Markets (Overweight) raised its target to $43 from $39 on January 19.
  • Piper Jaffray resumed coverage as Overweight with a $44 target on January 10.
  • Merrill Lynch raised it to Buy from Neutral with a $46 price objective on January 5, but the firm’s technical analysis team was even more bullish on a Cisco chart breakout.

At $41.29, Cisco’s stock recently reached its highest levels going back to the dot-com bubble in 2000, but Cisco shares are still nowhere close to those old highs. The consensus analyst target is $40.41, well above the $38.85 consensus from a week or two earlier. The consensus target was $35.73 just 90 days ago. Cisco has a dividend yield of almost 2.8% and a $204 billion market cap.

Facebook: What Newsfeed Changes?

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is expected to report earnings on January 31, and it caught multiple target price hikes before it announced changes to the newsfeed policies. This announcement hurt shares, but most analysts did not reverse their target price hikes. Facebook shares were last seen up 2.7% so far in 2018, but now at $181.29 they are down from a 52-week and all-time high in the prior week of $188.90.

Here are the analyst calls seen so far in 2018:

  • Citigroup reiterated its Buy rating and raised its price target to $215 from $210.
  • Cowen reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target from $200 to $220.
  • Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $232 from $230.
  • JPMorgan raises its price objective to $230 from $225.
  • Morgan Stanley (Overweight) raised its target price to $215 from $200.
  • SunTrust Robinson Humphrey reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $240 from $215.
  • Wells Fargo reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target from $215 to $230.

Facebook had a consensus target price of $212.52 on last look, up from $209.40 about 10 days earlier and even more from the $196.18 target 90 days ago. The social media giant has a $526 billion market cap.

F5 Networks: Earnings on Deck

F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) has seen targets and ratings hiked so far in 2018. At $138.76, its shares are up 5.75% so far in 2018, and its market cap is $8.9 billion. The company reports earnings on January 24 after the close.

At the start of 2018, F5 caught two analyst upgrades. On January 4, BMO Capital Markets raised the stock to Outperform from Market Perform and raised its price target to $156 from $122. Merrill Lynch raised F5 to Buy from Neutral with a $157 price objective on January 5. Also, Deutsche Bank raised its target price to $95 from $90 on January 5. On January 17, two firms raised targets: D.A. Davidson to $155 and Barclays to $125.

F5 shares have a consensus target price of $133.33, but that consensus price was just $127.80 at the start of 2018.