While the major U.S. exchanges (S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq) have been somewhat mixed on Wednesday, the markets collectively have never been stronger. The Nasdaq is in striking range of 7,000, and the Dow is only a couple hundred points away from a record 25,000, not to mention the S&P 500 is less than 1% away from 2,700. So what has helped push these markets to all-time highs?
Earnings and a strong rally in the tech sector have been a big part of this push, not to mention the advancement of the recent tax bill in Congress has spurred some optimism among corporations. Along with these, analysts have helped to shape the outlook of the market and encourage more growth.
24/7 Wall St. has taken a look at some of the biggest analyst calls on Wednesday that are driving stocks, and we have included some of the biggest analyst highlights. It’s worth pointing out that most of these calls are coming on the heels of earnings reports this week, and with Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner this could be the last big push by analysts in 2017.
Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) reported solid earnings on Tuesday and ultimately closed the day out higher, winning the admiration of a few analysts. Deutsche Bank raised its price target to $70 from $61. Stifel raised its price target slightly to $80 from $79, and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey raised its target to $84 from $72. Wedbush also raised its price target, to $71 from $65. Shares of Carnival traded on Wednesday at $68.22, with a consensus analyst price target of $74.08 and a 52-week trading range of $51.70 to $69.89.
Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) had one of the stronger earnings reports on Tuesday, posting a gain of roughly 7%. In turn, Barclays raised its price target 8% to $100. BMO raised its price target to $101 from $80. Credit Suisse maintained a Neutral rating and raised its price target to $90 from $80. Deutsche Bank raised its price target to $92 from $88, Maxim raised its target to $103 from $93 and Morgan Stanley raised its target to $95 from $88. Also, SunTrust raised its price target to $95 from $94. Shares of Darden were down 1% at $95.61. The stock has a 52-week range of $71.02 to $98.29 and a consensus price target of $93.05.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) shares hit an all-time high Wednesday after it reported a strong fiscal second quarter. Baird raised its price target to $268 from $265, while BMO raised its target to $270 from $265 and Citigroup raised its target to $280 from $275. Credit Suisse has an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $283 from $278. Raymond James raised its price target to $270 from $232, and Stifel raised its target to $272 from $221. Shares of FedEx were trading up nearly 3% at $249.32, with a 52-week range of $182.89 to $253.24 and a consensus price target of $245.42.
Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was a big premarket mover on Wednesday after beating earnings and raising guidance. Mizuho reiterated it as Buy and the price target was raised to $50 from $45. Cowen reiterated its Outperform rating and raised the target to $53 from $50. Credit Suisse raised its target price to $60 from $50 with a reiterated Outperform rating. Other target price hikes: Citigroup to $55 from $51, Deutsche Bank to $60 from $55, Instinet to $55 from $50 and Stifel to $75 from $65. Shares of Micron were up over 4% at $45.99. The consensus price target is $54.29, and the 52-week range is $20.34 to $49.89.
Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) was lower after an earnings beat and guidance. While this might not have been enough for investors, analysts took the opportunity to hike their price targets: BMO to $142 from $128, Credit Suisse to $120 from $113, Deutsche Bank to $150 from $130, KeyBanc Capital Markets to $138 from $135, Morgan Stanley to $130 from $120, Raymond James to $139 from $118 and RBC Capital Markets to $135 from $134. Jefferies has a Hold rating and raised its target from $100 to $119. Shares of Red Hat traded down about 6%at $121.87, with a consensus price target of $127.21 and a 52-week range of $68.54 to $130.93.
Stitch Fix Inc. (NASDAQ: SFIX) may have drifted lower after its first earnings report as a public company, but on the positive side three firms raised their targets in response to the report: Barclays to $27 from $26, JPMorgan to $26 from $25 (while maintaining a Neutral rating) and Stifel to $23 from $22. Shares traded down over 10% at $22.15. The stock has a post-IPO range of $14.48 to $25.98 and a consensus price target of $25.67.
Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE: THC) may be the oddball of the group seeing as it did not report earnings this week like the rest. However, this firm is exploring the sale of its Conifer business unit, as well as looking to expand cost-cutting measures within the company. Leerink raised its price target from $25 to $27. Mizuho has a Neutral rating and raised its price target to $15 from $13. Morgan Stanley downgraded it to Underweight from Equal Weight. Morgan Stanley raised its price target to $15 from $14, and SunTrust raised its target to $16 from $15. Shares of Tenet were down about 3% to $14.56 on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $12.25 to $22.72. The consensus price target is $17.64.