Friday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: BP, Cloudflare, Expedia, FireEye, Marathon Oil, Moderna, ViacomCBS and More

The futures were mixed after Thursday’s big snapback rally in which all the major indexes posted solid gains. Friday morning, investors were scrutinizing the July jobs report that came in slightly above expectations. Pundits across Wall Street continue to note a consistent focus on the coronavirus, with U.S. cases hitting a six-month high. Dr. Fauci says that U.S. cases could soon hit 200,000 a day and warns against even harsher variants, while others feel that we are close to a peak in cases. In addition, there is more and more chatter that the United States could mandate all foreign visitors be vaccinated.

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 Friday, August 6, 2021.

ADTRAN Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTN): Cowen raised the stock to Outperform from Market Perform and has a $29 price target. The Wall Street consensus target is $22.17. The shares ended Thursday at $21.70.

Becton, Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX): JPMorgan downgraded the stock to Neutral from Overweight and had a $265 price target. The consensus target is $276.93. The shares ended trading Thursday at $243.08, which was down almost 5% on the day, despite an earnings beat and raised 2021 outlook.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP): Morgan Stanley raised its Underweight rating on the European oil giant to Equal Weight. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $14.74 to $28.49 and has a $32.57 consensus price target.

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