Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Allstate, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Blue Apron, Costco, Home Depot, Microsoft, Take-Two, Target, Walmart and More

Stocks were indicated to open higher on Thursday with optimism after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was more dovish on his stance for interest rate cuts. The S&P, Dow Jones industrials and Nasdaq are all basically now at all-time highs, and the relentless bull market is well over 10 years old. This is a time when investors have to be considering how they want their portfolios and assets positioned for the second half of 2019 and beyond.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week. Our goal is to find new ideas for traders and long-term investors alike. Some of the daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy. Other calls cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

We have provided these calls in a quick-hit summary for easy reading. and additional comments and trading data have been added on some of the calls. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations on Thursday, July 11, 2019.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Wedbush Securities.

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: APD) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS, but the firm did raise its target to $240 from $224 in the call.

Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL) was downgraded to Underperform from Neutral and the target price was lowered to $94 from $10 at Credit Suisse.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) had traded up after reporting a net loss after charges, but it was last seen down about 3% at $11.08 on Thursday. Bed Bath & Beyond was maintained as Neutral but the target was cut to $13 from $18 at Citigroup. Goldman Sachs initiated coverage with a Neutral rating and $11 price target.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was started as Neutral with a $73 target price at Goldman Sachs.

Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: APRN) was maintained with a Neutral rating at Citigroup, but the firm slashed its target price to $8 from $18.

Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE: XEC) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Markets.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) was started with a Buy rating at Goldman Sachs, and the firm assigned a $290 target price.

Endo International PLC (NASDAQ: ENDP) was downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform and the target price was slashed to $6 from $11 at RBC Capital Markets.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) was raised to Buy from Hold and the target price was raised to $13.50 from $12.50 at Deutsche Bank.

Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) was started as Buy with a $235 target price at Goldman Sachs.

International Paper Co. (NYSE: IP) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the target price was lowered to $45 from $53 at Citigroup.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $119 target price at Goldman Sachs.

Methanex Corp. (NASDAQ: MEOH) was cut from Outperform to Neutral and the target price was lowered to $53 from $70 at CIBC.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $150 target price at Cowen.

Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE: RF) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill Lynch.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) was started as Buy with a $102 price target at Goldman Sachs.

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: AMTD) was downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $123 target price at Goldman Sachs.

Weight Watchers International (NYSE: WTW) was raised to Neutral from Underweight and the target price was raised to $22 from $17 at JPMorgan.

Zacks has named Avis Budget Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR) as its Bull of the Day, as sell-side analysts are becoming progressively optimistic about the future of this business. The Bear of the Day is Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS), which is seeing sell-side analysts growing increasingly pessimistic.

Eight large-cap and mega-cap stocks saw key analyst upgrades and target hikes on Wednesday, including Comcast, FedEx, Lockheed Martin, PepsiCo, UPS and Visa.

With the stock market at record highs, the analysts at Robert W. Baird have made the case the top aerospace and defense stocks can outperform yet again in the second half of 2019.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Acacia Communications, Baidu, BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, Boeing, BP, CSX, Deere, HCA, PepsiCo, Redfin, S&P Global, Trimble, Visa, Zillow and many more.

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