Thursday Analyst Moves: Yum! Brands, Inc., Exxon Mobil Corporation, McDonald's Corporation (YUM, XOM, MCD, More)

Thursday Analyst Moves: Yum! Brands, Inc., Exxon Mobil Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation (YUM, XOM, MCD, More)

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Before Thursday’s opening bell, a number of big name dividend stocks were the subject of analyst moves. Below, we highlight the important analyst commentary for investors.

Morgan Stanley Cuts Rating on Yum! Brands on China Concerns
Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) has been downgraded at Morgan Stanley to “Equal Weight.” The firm reported that there are still concerns regarding China. Analysts currently have a $77 price target on YUM, suggesting that the stock will remain flat at its current price. YUM has a dividend yield of 1.93%.

Citigroup Downgrades Exxon on Valuation Call
Citigroup has slashed its rating on Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) to “Neutral,” due to a valuation call, based on the firm’s $108 price target on XOM. XOM has a dividend yield of 2.50%.

Williams-Sonoma Upgraded at Argus
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM) has been upgraded at Argus from “Hold” to “Buy,” and has been given a price target of $68 as the company continues to grow its online business. This price target suggests a 14% upside from the stock’s current price of $59.66. WSM currently has a dividend yield of 2.08%.

BofA/Merill Upgrades SunTrust Banks to “Neutral”
BofA/Merrill has boosted its rating on SunTrust Banks, Inc. (STI) from “Underperform” to “Neutral,” and has given the company a $38 price target. This price target suggests that the stock will remain flat at its current price. The firm has upgraded STI as the company is managing expenses. STI currently yields 1.07%.

Monsanto Downgraded at JP Morgan
Monsanto Company (MON) has been cut to “Neutral” at JP Morgan as domestic corn prices are at risk. The firm has a $115 price target on MON, suggesting a that the stock will remain flat at its current price. MON has a a dividend yield of 1.49%.

Morgan Upgrades McDonald’s to “Overweight”
Morgan Stanley has raised its rating on McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) to “Overweight,” and has given the company a $115 price. This price target suggests a 21% increase from the stock’s current price of $95.41. Analysts believe that although the company has underperformed, the market has not realized its competitive advantages. MCD has a dividend yield of 3.40%.

Johnson & Johnson Upgraded at Jefferies
Jefferies reported that it has upgraded Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) from “Neutral” to “Buy,” and has given the company a $108 price target. This price target suggests a 15% increase from the stock’s current price of $94.16. The upgrade was a result of high expectations across the pharmaceutical industry. JNJ has a dividend yield of 2.80%.

Wells Fargo Downgrades Global Payments; Valuation Call
Global Payments Inc (GPN) has been cut from “Outperform” to “Market Perform” at Wells Fargo based on a valuation call. GPN has a dividend yield of 0.12%.

H & R Block Upgraded to “Buy” at BTIG
H & R Block Inc (HRB) has been upgraded from “Neutral” to “Buy” at BTIG. The firm sees the bank sale increasing shareholder value. HRB has a dividend yield of 2.69%.

MKM Partners Upgrades D.R. Horton
MKM Partners has boosted its rating on D.R. Horton, Inc. (DHI) from “Neutral” to “Buy”,” and has given the company a $26 price target. This price target suggests a 21% upside from the stock’s current price of $21.58. Analysts see an upside for the company as the U.S. housing market recovers. DHI has a dividend yield of 0.70%.

Du Pont Upgraded at BofA/Merrill
E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (DD) has been upgraded at Bank of America/Merill Lynch from “Neutral” to “Buy,” and has been given a $70 price target. This price target suggests an 11% upside from the stock’s current price of $63.63. DD has a dividend yield of 2.85%.

BofA/Merill Boosts Rating on City National
City National Corp (CYN) has been upgraded at Bank of America/Merill Lynch to “Outperform” as the company is leveraged to high interest rates and has high growth potential. CYN has a dividend yield of 1.29%.

Lerrink Swan Starts CVS at “Outperform”
Lerrink Swan has begun coverage on CVS Caremark Corporation (CVS) with an “Outperform” rating and $85 price target. This new price target suggests a 21% increase from the stock’s current price of $69.77. Analysts see retail and mail PBM model driving growth. CVS has a dividend yield of 1.58%.

Avery Dennison Upgraded at Robert Baird
Avery Dennison Corp (AVY) has been upgraded to “Outperform” at Robert Baird, and has been given a $57 price target. This price target suggests a 15% increase from the stock’s current price of $49.46. AVY has a dividend yield of 2.35%

Credit Suisse Upgrades Aetna
Aetna Inc (AET) has been upgraded to “Outperform” at Credit Suisse as the company is cutting costs. The firm has an $83 price target on AET, suggesting a 20% upside from the stock’s current price of $69.14. AET has a dividend yield of 1.30%.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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