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A top Ford Motor Co executive has been fired following misconduct allegations, the latest business leader to be shown the door amid broader scrutiny of workplace behavior in the US. Raj Nair, a 53 year old Ford veteran who most recently ran the auto company's profitable North American business, is leaving after an investigation found his behavior was inconsistent with the company's code of conduct. The specific nature of the allegations against Mr Nair was not disclosed. The departure stems from an anonymous tip received in recent weeks, which the company investigated. In a statement Mr Nair said " I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviors consistent with the principles that the company and I have always espoused

​FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER 3

The stock market has demonstrated that perhaps the return of volatility is real after Wednesday’s big gains suddenly turned into a big loss in the final 30 minutes of trading. Now stocks are indicated just marginally higher after digesting more of the verbiage from the FOMC minutes yesterday. With the bull market approaching nine years old, the trend that has worked without fail for roughly six years has been to buy the dips every time. Investors still have to decide how they want to be positioned for 2018 and beyond.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week to find ideas for investors and traders alike. Some analyst reports and research reports cover stocks to buy. Others 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, February 22, 2018.

Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP) was reiterated as Buy with a $135 price target (versus a $114.00 prior close) at Argus. The independent research firm noted that new CEO Tom Greco is the right executive for the job and that he will deliver operating improvements that will drive shares higher.

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Alkermes PLC (NASDAQ: ALKS) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $66 price target (versus a $63.19 close) at Jefferies.

ArQule Inc. (NASDAQ: ARQL) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $5 price target (versus a $1.67 close) at Roth Capital. ArQule has a mere $145 million market cap, and the 52-week trading range is $0.92 to $1.98.

Bluebird Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: BLUE) has seen mixed results after earnings. BMO Capital Markets maintained its Outperform rating and raised its target price to $222 from $215. Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated its Underweight rating.

Carter’s Inc. (NYSE: CRI) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $135 from $125 at Oppenheimer.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH) was raised to Buy from Hold with a $100 price target (versus an $81.80 close) at Argus.

Colfax Corp. (NYSE: CFX) was reiterated as Buy with a $40 price target (versus a $33.36 close) at Argus, with the independent research shop saying that the recent weakness offers a buying opportunity.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE: ECL) was reiterated as Buy with a $150 price target (versus a $129.90 close) at Argus, which noted that solid earnings and a raised dividend should help rectify its underperformance as a stock over the past quarter.


​Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: HMNY), which owns the majority stake in MoviePass, was started as Buy with a $15 price target at Canaccord Genuity. The shares closed down over 7% at $4.50 on Wednesday but were indicated up almost 9% at $4.90 on Thursday morning. The company has a market cap of $141 million, and the shares have a 52-week trading range of $2.20 to $38.86.

HubSpot Inc. (NYSE: HUBS) was reiterated as Outperform and the price target was raised to $120 from $105 at Oppenheimer. HubSpot closed at $110.10 on Wednesday with a 52-week range of $56.50 to $111.85 and its consensus target price was closer to $104.

JELD-WEN Holding Inc. (NYSE: JELD) was down 8.3% to $34.50 on Wednesday due to an earnings miss. It was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan, and it was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo.

KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ: KLAC) was raised to Neutral from Negative with a $120 price target (versus a $109.67 close) at Susquehanna.

Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. (NYSE: MIC) was downgraded to Hold from Buy with a $60 price target (versus a $63.62 close) at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Oppenheimer maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its target to $75 from $100.






















































Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS) was maintained as Underperform at Credit Suisse, with the firm noting that it is nearly priced for perfection while it is likely to disappoint.

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) was down 8.6% at $4.87 ahead of earnings, but its shares were last seen up almost 6% at $5.16 on Thursday morning after the report. Wedbush Securities maintained its Outperform rating and an $8 target price, noting that the better-than-expected results were driven by premium subscription growth despite a lack of clarity on underwhelming guidance. Credit Suisse maintained its Neutral rating but cut its target down to $5 from $6 and noted that it is waiting for the company to prove its results can win from cost cuts and better capital deployment. Merrill Lynch reiterated its Underperform rating and lowered its price objective to $5.60.

U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SLCA) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup. Cowen maintained it as Outperform and the price target was lowered to $42 from $45. Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its target price to $36 from $40.

Verisk Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK) was up 2.2% at $99.23 on Wednesday after beating earnings expectations. JPMorgan raised it to Overweight from Neutral, and it now has a $118 price target. Credit Suisse reiterated its Neutral rating but raised its target to $106 from $96. Verisk has a 52-week trading range of $75.60 to $102.00, and its prior consensus target price was about $106.

Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) was down 12.5% at $10.03 on Wednesday after earnings. Vonage was reiterated as Outperform with a $13 price target at Oppenheimer.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. (NYSE: WWW) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $36 price target (versus a $29.51 close) at D.A. Davidson.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Capital One, Domino’s, Home Depot, Mosaic, Regeneron, Six Flags, U.S. Steel, Walmart and many more.

​ANALYST UPGRADES

DEEPER CUTS

Toys R Us Inc plans to close an additional 200 stores and lay off a significant portion of its corporate staff following a disappointing holiday season. The Wayne NJ retailer recently announced plans to close about 180 stores, affecting approximately 4,500 workers. The latest wave of closings would cut nearly in half the number of US stores it had before its bankruptcy filling. The discussions about the store closings are continuing and the number of closures could change.  The company has also walked back from a promise to offer severance to all affected employees. 

OFFICIAL FIRED FOR MISCONDUCT