The futures were lower Thursday after the markets pulled off a three-day winning streak after two huge risk-off days to start the week. One big reason for the market strength has been attributed to the data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that showed that a third dose could still offer a sufficient level of protection against the Omicron variant and two doses may still induce protection against severe disease. Toss in some big-time final corporate stock buybacks and the House of Representatives passing a procedural bill to start the process for increasing the debt ceiling, and many of the near-term worries seem to have faded some.
The biggest data point this week that could shake up the markets comes Friday. The Consumer Price Index report comes out just five days before Federal Reserve policymakers will huddle up to discuss inflation risks. Wall Street economists and strategists are expecting the headline CPI number to hit a stunning 6.7%, which would be the highest rate posted since 1982. If a larger number hits the tape, we could see a big risk-off move.
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, December 9, 2021.
Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA): Wells Fargo started coverage with an Overweight rating and a $71 price target. The posted consensus target is even higher at $95.71. The last trade for Wednesday was at $54.71, which was up almost 4% for the day.
Asbury Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: ABG): Zacks has picked this stock as its Bull of the Day. The analyst makes a case that auto retailers are in the driver’s seat in 2022. Shares most recently closed at $168.96, and the consensus price target is $249.25, which would be an all-time high.
AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO): Raymond James reiterated an Outperform rating on the car parts retailing heavyweight and boosted the $1,950 price target to $2,200, while Stephens kept an Overweight rating and raised its target price to $2,210 from $1,850. The consensus target is $1,947.29. The final trade for Wednesday came in at $1,988.86 a share.
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