Tuesday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Amgen, Cirrus Logic, Johnson & Johnson, Lam Research, Merck, Spotify and Vertex Pharma

Tuesday morning futures were marginally higher after Friday’s huge miss following the August employment report. While markets could be opening at all-time highs to start out this truncated trading week, there are still some unanswered questions about the recovery of the economy and where do we go from here. Not to mention, how does this report affect Fed policy?

Analysts were targeting a “robust” 750,000 jobs coming back in August, according to Bloomberg, compared to the reported number to 235,000. 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 were correct in predicting the unemployment rate to narrowing to 5.2% in August from July’s reported 5.4%.

While many expected the report to be a fairly positive one, it still reflected 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, 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 Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN): Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to Equal Weight from Overweight and cut the price target to $251 from $280. Shares last closed at $226.37, and the consensus price target is $252.96.

Azure Power Global Ltd. (NYSE: AZRE): HSBC Securities upgraded it to Buy from Hold and has a $27.50 price target. The shares have a $42.25 consensus target, and Friday’s close was at $21.77.

Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO): The Barclays upgrade was to Equal Weight from Underweight. That compares with an $85.95 consensus target and Friday’s close at $101.97.

Cirrus Logic Inc. (NASDAQ: CRUS): Barclays upgraded it to Overweight from Equal Weight and raised the price target to $100 from $95. Shares last closed at $83.62, and the consensus price target is $105.42.

Hain Celestial Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN): This is the Zacks Bear of the Day. The analyst points out that an earnings miss started a string of negative earnings estimate revisions for this stock. Shares closed most recently at $37.28 apiece and have a consensus price target of $44.91.

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