Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Apple, Applied Materials, BP, Bumble, Carrier, Harley-Davidson, Hess, Illumina, Johnson Controls and More

The futures were mixed on Wednesday. The final trading day of the first quarter could bring some added volatility. Despite many of the momentum names trading higher on Tuesday, all three of the major indexes closed in the red. The only winners were the Russell 2000 and the Transportation index, which hit yet another all-time high. As we have mentioned recently, that is a very positive sign for the economy for the second quarter and beyond.

While top strategists on Wall Street continue pointing to “bubble” metrics, like the massive “meme” retail stock and option trading by the WallStreetBets and Robinhood crowd, some say that volume is starting to wane. However, additional huge hedge fund leverage similar to Archegos Capital, (which blew up late last week) and initial public offerings that don’t make money continue to show elevated risk tolerance.

With major Wall Street firms still warning of the potential for impending 5% to 10% correction across the board, it makes sense for investors to continue building some cash reserves into the market strength, while repositioning portfolios for the start of the second quarter and 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 Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS, which raised the price target on the technology giant to $142 from $115. The Wall Street consensus target is up at $152.01, and Tuesday’s close was at $119.90.

Allied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) was started with an Outperform rating and a $160 price target at Bernstein. The consensus target for the semiconductor capital equipment leader is $135.66. Tuesday’s final trade came in at $126.76 a share.

AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE: AVB) was started with a Sector Perform rating and a $193 price target at RBC Capital Markets. The consensus target is $135.66, and the stock ended Tuesday’s session at $126.76.

Blueprint Medicines Corp. (NASDAQ: BPMC) was started at Credit Suisse with a Neutral rating and a $100 price target. The consensus target is up at $117.67, and the shares were last seen on Tuesday at $93.27 a share.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley. The European oil major has traded in a 52-week range of $14.74 to $28.57 and has a consensus target of $29.32. The stock closed on Tuesday at $24.88.

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