Morgan Stanley upgrades Johnson & Johnson, says the stock is 'looking defensive again'

Johnson & Johnson products on a shelf in a store in New York.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

Johnson & Johnson is in for a strong new year, according to Morgan Stanley.

The firm upgraded shares of Johnson & Johnson to overweight from neutral and hiked its 12-month price target to $170 from $145, as the company is "looking defensive again." The pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods company closed at $141.79 per share on Monday. J&J also pays a 2.7% dividend yield.

"We see J&J's defensiveness returning, resulting in multiple expansion and outperformance in 2020," said Morgan Stanley equity analyst David Lewis in a note to clients on Tuesday.