Wal-Mart, Alibaba, Autodesk Upgraded; Symantec Downgraded – Investor's Business Daily

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Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and design software firm Autodesk (ADSK) received stock rating upgrades on Friday, while security software company Symantec (SYMC) got a downgrade. Elsewhere on Wall Street, chip gear maker Applied Materials (AMAT) and Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba (BABA) received price-target increases.

Wal-Mart Gets Upgrade, Price Hike

Telsey Advisory Group reiterated its outperform rating on Wal-Mart and raised its price target to 84 from 82. BMO Capital Markets upgraded Wal-Mart to market perform from underperform and set a price target of 80.

Wal-Mart stock was up 0.7% to 78.10 before the opening bell on the stock market today. On Thursday, Wal-Mart shares jumped 3.2% to 77.54, a two-year high. Wal-Mart is a component of the Dow Jones industrial average.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart on Thursday reported a surprise increase in earnings per share in the first quarter, while sales just missed views. U.S. online sales soared 63% vs. a year earlier.

Autodesk Gets Upgrades, Price Target Increases

RBC Capital Markets upgraded Autodesk stock to outperform from sector perform and raised its price target to 125 from 95. Bank of America upgraded Autodesk to neutral.

San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk received price target increases from at least four Wall Street firms after posting better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter results late Thursday.

Cowen, Evercore ISI and Pacific Crest Securities upped their price targets on Autodesk to 115 and reiterated their buy ratings.

Autodesk stock was up almost 14%, near 109.05, in premarket trading on Friday. Autodesk hit a record regular-session high of 98.05 on Tuesday. It broke out of a flat base with a buy point of 89.28 on April 24.

Symantec Rating Cut

RBC downgraded Symantec stock to sector perform from outperform and lowered its price target to 32 from 34.

Symantec was down almost 1%, near 29.50, in premarket trading on Friday.

Last week, the Mountain View, Calif.-based computer security firm reported in-line earnings, but revenue and June-quarter guidance fell short of expectations.

Alibaba, Applied Materials Hiked

Alibaba received at least three price-target hikes on Friday, despite delivering mixed quarterly results early Thursday. Alibaba reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that missed views, though revenue grew 60%.

Baird maintained its outperform rating on Alibaba and raised its target to 135 from 116. Needham kept its buy rating and upped its price target to 140 from 135. Pacific Crest stuck with its overweight rating and increased its target to 137 from 134.

Alibaba stock was up 1.8%, near 123.45, in early trading Friday.

Applied Materials received at least five price-target increases on Friday, following its better-than-expected fiscal second quarter results late Thursday.

Cowen maintained its outperform rating on Applied Materials and raised its price target to 50 from 45. Needham kept its buy rating and upped its target to 54 from 50. Pacific Crest stayed at overweight and increased its target to 55 from 44. RBC reiterated its sector perform rating, but upped its target to 46 from 35. Stifel kept its buy rating and raised its target to 55 from 50.

Applied Materials late Thursday reported sales and earnings that topped views for its fiscal second quarter, and it guided analysts higher for the current quarter.

Applied was up 3.5%, near 45.45, in early trading Friday.


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