Thursday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Chewy, Eli Lilly, Etsy, Halliburton, Robinhood, Roku, Walmart, Western Digital and More

The futures were modestly higher on Thursday after a very weak Wednesday that saw two of the major indexes close deep in the red. The disappointing ADP July jobs number plus worries over the increasing cases of the COVID-19 due to the Delta variant were cited as the main reasons for the risk-off move. After hitting six-month lows, interest rates moved slightly higher across the curve as the sellers came in for Treasury debt as well. The key data point this week will be the July employment report on Friday.

While the Federal Reserve did not raise rates last week, many across Wall Street remain leery of the beginning of the tapering of the quantitative easing program after the clear buildup of inflationary pressures, despite the fact the Federal Reserve is vowing to keep interest rates contained. That could be one reason for the continued moves higher in the equity markets even after sell-offs. Also note that money markets continue to see massive inflows, which is another big plus.

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 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, August 5, 2021.

Asbury Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: ABG): This stock was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that organic growth and strategic acquisitions are making this one of the country’s most profitable auto dealers. Shares most recently closed at $193.21 and have a consensus price target of $227.14.

Avantor Inc. (NASDAQ: ATE): Credit Suisse resumed coverage on the stock with an Outperform rating and a $42 price target. The consensus target is $37.15. Wednesday’s last trade came in at $37.99.

Avis Budget Group Inc. (NYSE: CAR): JPMorgan raised the stock to Overweight from Neutral and has a $100 price target. The consensus price target for the rental car giant is just $90.17. The last trade on Wednesday came in at $74.95, which was down a stunning 17% on the day despite a very solid earnings report. The shares were up about 3% in premarket trading.

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