Wednesday morning futures were very positive, looking to extend gains from August. Although the markets pulled back on Tuesday, the August gains are locked in, notching the seventh straight month of gains for the S&P 500 and an increase of over 20% for the year thus far. The positive action in the markets has been underscored by some positive economic numbers, namely employment. Investors are now looking ahead to the August employment report due out on Friday.
For the employment report, analysts are targeting a “robust” 750,000 jobs coming back in August, according to Bloomberg. Note that this is still an impressive number by prepandemic standards, but it does demonstrate a deceleration from July’s report, which saw 943,000 jobs added. Also, analysts are expecting the unemployment rate to narrow to 5.2% in August from July’s reported 5.4%.
While many expect the report to be a fairly positive one, it will still reflect the surge in coronavirus cases that we saw across the United States over the past month. It goes without saying that the Federal Reserve also will be monitoring these numbers, per its dual mandate, and the report could influence the Fed’s monetary policy to come later this year. For now, the labor market appears to be improving and the Fed policy is favorable.
With major Wall Street firms still warning of the potential for impending 5% to 10% correction across the board, which may have seen beginning last week, it makes sense for investors to continue building some cash reserves into any market strength while repositioning portfolios for the balance 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 Wednesday, September 1, 2021.
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC): Macquarie’s downgrade was to Underperform from Neutral. The shares have a $5.44 consensus target, and Tuesday’s close was at $47.13.
American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK): HSBC Securities downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy and raised the price target to $190 from $181. Shares last closed at $182.25, and the consensus price target is $177.53.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL): Wolfe Research upgraded the stock to a Peer Perform rating from Underperform and raised the price target to $155 from $135. That compares with a $166.23 consensus target and Tuesday’s close at $151.83.