Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Applied Materials, Clorox, KB Home, Kraft Heinz, NetApp, Roku, Under Armour and More

The futures traded higher on Friday morning, as we get ready to wrap up the holiday-shortened trading week. The markets took a deep dive Thursday but did recover some by the close, after more people applied for unemployment assistance than forecast and Walmart put a massive dent in the Dow Jones after reporting disappointing results. Top analysts on Wall Street are pointing to “bubble” metrics, like the massive retail stock and option trading, huge hedge fund leverage and IPOs that don’t make money, and many are urging caution.

Though fourth-quarter earnings reporting is almost complete, most across Wall Street still are examining not only the results but also looking to see what guidance for the balance of the first quarter and the rest of 2021 looks like. With stocks very overbought and many trades crowded, and major Wall Street firms warning of an impending 5% to 10% correction, it makes sense for investors to start building some cash reserves while repositioning portfolios for the rest of 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 Friday, February 19, 2021.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) saw its target price raised to $140 from $120 at Cowen, where the analysts believe there is still upside to future earnings potential due to industry trends and product positioning. The consensus price target for the semiconductor capital equipment leader is $115.32. The shares closed on Thursday at $113.43.

BankUnited Inc. (NYSE: BKU) was downgraded from Buy to Neutral with a $38 price objective at D.A. Davidson. That compares with a consensus target of $41.01 and Thursday’s close at $39.65.

Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that it fell well short of quarterly earnings estimates in the past two quarters and its near-term outlook is tough. Shares last closed at $167.09, but the consensus price target is just $119.06.

Carlyle Group Inc. (NYSE: CG) was upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse, which raised the price target to $42. The consensus target is $39.54. The last trade for Thursday came in at $36.08.

Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) was raised from Neutral to Overweight with a $233 price target at Atlantic Equities. The consensus target is $213.71. The stock closed Thursday at $189.65.

DXC Technology Co. (NYSE: DXC) was upgraded at BofA Securities from Underperform to Neutral with a $27 price target. The consensus target is higher at $30.62. The shares were last seen Thursday trading at $25.49.

eHealth Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank, which lowered the price target to $63. The consensus target is much higher at $78.64. The stock closed Thursday at $54.26. The shares were down almost 4% in premarket trading after disappointing earnings news.

Floor & Decor Holdings Inc. (NYSE: FND) was raised to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Sandler, which also raised the price target to $124. The consensus target for the retailer is $101.40. The last trade for Thursday came in at $97.64, down almost 4% on the day.

Hub Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HUBG) was raised to Buy from Neutral at UBS, which also raised the price target to $67. The lower $63.27 consensus target also compares with Thursday’s close at $54.22.

KB Home (NYSE: KBH) was upgraded to Buy from Sell at Goldman Sachs, which raised the price target to $51. The consensus target for the homebuilder is $46. The last trade for Thursday came in at $40.70. Shares were almost 3% higher in the premarket.

Kraft Heinz Co. (NYSE: KHC) was downgraded at JPMorgan from Overweight to Neutral with a $41 price target. The consensus target for the food and condiment product giant is $37.44. Thursday’s final trade was posted at $39.96, up over 5% on the day, as well as a two-year high.

NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) was raised to Buy from Neutral at Longbow. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $34.66 to $70.64 and has a consensus price target of $66.05. Thursday’s close was at $68.07.

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