The futures were higher across the board on Thursday, the first trading day for the second quarter. Both the S&P 500, which closed at an all-time high, and the Nasdaq posted strong gains Wednesday, while the Dow Jones industrials closed lower. All eyes on Wall Street are now focused on Friday and the nonfarm payroll numbers for March. While there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases that temporarily may slow the reopening of the economy, strategists are very positive on the potential for big economic growth in the second quarter and the rest of the year.
While top strategists on Wall Street continue pointing to “bubble” metrics, like the massive “meme” retail stock and option trading by the WallStreetBets and Robinhood crowd, some say that volume is starting to wane. However, additional huge hedge fund leverage similar to Archegos Capital, (which blew up late last week) and initial public offerings that don’t make money continue to show elevated risk tolerance.
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, April 1, 2021.
Acuity Brands Inc. (NYSE: AYI) saw its target price raised to $181 from $133 at Cowen. That compares with a much lower consensus target of $140.71. The shares were last seen on Wednesday at $165, a more than 13% gain after the industrial technology company reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings, mainly driven by gross margin expansion.
Carnival Corp. & PLC (NYSE: CCL) was started at Citigroup with a Buy rating and a $30 price target. The consensus target for the cruise line operator is $23.26, and the stock closed Wednesday at $26.54.
Dow Inc. (NYSE: DOW) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that increasing margins and improving demand leave upside for this stock. Shares most recently closed at $63.94 but have a consensus price target of $60.59.