Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Agilent, Carnival, Clorox, Darden, Pinduoduo, QuantumScape, Shell, Williams-Sonoma and More

The futures were all lower on Thursday, after a Wednesday trading session that saw investors keeping a close eye on the statements from Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell. Markets are already pricing in nearly three rate hikes by the end of 2023, and as expected he somewhat talked down the dot plot, which sent the Dow Jones industrials and the S&P 500 to fresh all-time highs. With stimulus checks showing up in bank accounts, spring break upon us and the economy looking for a strong rebound, Wall Street strategists are becoming increasingly bullish on the potential for very strong economic growth this quarter and for the entire year.

Despite the strong gains, top strategists on Wall Street continue pointing to “bubble” metrics, like the massive “meme” retail stock and option trading, huge hedge fund leverage and IPOs that don’t make money as examples, so the current volatility may be here for some time.

Wall Street analysts have been examining earnings results and also looking to see what guidance for the balance of the first quarter and the rest of 2021 looks like. With major Wall Street firms still warning of the potential for impending 5% to 10% correction across the board, it makes sense for investors to continue building some cash reserves into the market strength, while repositioning portfolios for the start of the second quarter and the rest of 2021.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week with a goal of finding new ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy. Other calls cover stocks to sell or avoid. Remember that no single analyst call should ever be used as a basis to buy or sell a stock. Consensus analyst target data is from Refinitiv.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday, March 18, 2021.

Aeva Technologies Inc. (NYSE: AEVA) was started with an Overweight rating and a $22 price target at Piper Sandler. The stock had a recent initial public offering, so there is no consensus target yet. The shares were last seen on Wednesday at $14.05, after falling almost 7% on the day.

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) was upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup, which also raised the price target to $150. The posted consensus price target is $138.56. The stock closed trading on Wednesday at $122.52.

Carnival Corp. & PLC (NYSE: CCL) was upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA Securities, which raised the price target to $42. The consensus for the cruise line operator is much lower at $21.53, and the shares closed Wednesday at $28.93.

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