Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Adtran, Alcoa, Clorox, Kinder Morgan, Lam Research, MGIC, Sprint, Walmart and More

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Stocks have been gaining of late as earnings season has kicked off, but the major equity indices were indicated to open lower on Thursday. Investors have been rethinking what the nine-year bull market may bring in 2018 and beyond. The trend of buying pullbacks has become more vulnerable to sellers, volatility and each major news headline than in 2017. Many investors are finding it hard to decide how they want their assets positioned for the longer term.

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

Additional color and commentary has been added on most of the daily analyst reports. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Thomson Reuters sell-side research service.

These were the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and other research calls from Thursday, April 19, 2018.

Adtran Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTN) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, with the independent research firm noting that the top line is falling and margins are compressing.

Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $71 from $61 (versus a $59.40 prior close) at Credit Suisse.

Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight with a $116 price target (versus a $126.72 close) at Morgan Stanley. Clorox has a consensus price target of $139.07 and a 52-week trading range of $123.64 to $150.40.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $68 price target (versus a $66.42 close) at Jefferies.

GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. (NYSE: GOL) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with an $11 price target (versus a $13.47 close) at Citigroup. The airline’s stock closed up over 5% on Wednesday, and it has traded in a 52-week range of $4.13 to $14.49.

HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE: HSBC) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) was raised to Overweight from Neutral with a $78 price target (versus a $61.80 close) at Piper Jaffray.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) may be one of the 10 top oil stocks still down for 2018, but it raised its dividend and beat on earnings. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating and $20 price objective on Kinder Morgan. The shares closed up 0.9% at $16.17 on Wednesday and were indicated up 2.6% at $16.60 on Thursday morning. The consensus analyst target is $21.60.

Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX) was reiterated as Buy with a $235 price target (versus a $203.77 close) at Argus. The independent research firm noted that the recent sell-off and the 4% drop after earnings have been overdone. Lam Research had a consensus target price of $257.76.

MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform with a $12 price target (versus a $10.50 close) at Wells Fargo.

National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NYSE: NOV) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $41 price target (versus a $38.32 close) at Societe Generale.

NovoCure Ltd. (NASDAQ: NVCR) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $29 price target (versus a $23.80 close) at Deutsche Bank.

Party City Holdco Inc. (NYSE: PRTY) was raised to Buy from Neutral and the price objective was raised to $20 from $17.50 (versus a $15.48 close) at Merrill Lynch.

Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE: SCCO) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $57 target price (versus a $57.34 close) at B. Riley.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) was raised to Neutral from Underperform with a $6.25 price target (versus a $6.00 close) at Macquarie.

Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) was raised to Buy from Underperform with a $75 price target (versus a $63.99 close) at Merrill Lynch. The stock closed up 6.7% on Wednesday, and it has a 52-week range of $45.00 to $64.88.

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $100 price target (versus an $87.57 close) at Argus. Shares were down 0.4% on Wednesday but were indicated up 0.6% at $88.10 on Thursday. The stock has a 52-week range of $73.13 to $109.98, and the consensus target price is $105.56.

YPF S.A. (NYSE: YPF) was started as Buy and assigned a $28 price target (versus a $22.81 close) at HSBC.

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In case you missed it: Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Callaway Golf, Juniper Networks, Marvell Technology, Oasis Petroleum, Skechers, U.S. Steel, Zayo, Zillow and many more.

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