Wednesday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Albertsons, eBay, Freeport-McMoRan, GameStop, Melco Resorts, Nike, Novartis and More

The futures were slightly lower Wednesday, after another risk-off day in which the specter of much higher inflation once again triggered the selling. The Producer Price Index climbed 0.8% last month, easily exceeding Wall Street expectations of an 0.5% advance. The increase in wholesale prices in the past 12 months rose to 9.6% from 8.8%, marking the biggest advance since a major change in the index in 2009.

Wholesale inflation likely is rising at the fastest pace in 40 years. However, it should be noted the index was recalculated in 2014, and those crunching the numbers are using somewhat different methodology. Investors, traders and, most importantly, consumers hardly need any confirmation from the government on skyrocketing prices.

Top strategists across Wall Street are focused on the potential for a faster taper to the quantitative easing program and the distinct possibility for an earlier rate increase liftoff. All that is driven by big increases in energy costs and other inflation issues, and, while perhaps easing some, the ongoing supply chain concerns and stagflation worries remain front and center.

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, December 15, 2021.

Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM): JPMorgan downgraded the shares to Underweight from Neutral and has a $120 price target. The consensus target is $134.67. The closing share price on Tuesday was $114.24.

Albertsons Companies Inc. (NYSE: ACI): UBS started coverage of the supermarket giant’s stock with a Neutral rating and a $33 price target. The consensus target is $32.94. Tuesday’s final trade came in at $30.25.

Apartment Income REIT Corp. (NYSE: AIRC): Citigroup upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral and lifted the target price to $60 from $52. The consensus target is $55.10. The stock closed on Tuesday at $52.85.

AppLovin Corp. (NYSE: APP): Morgan Stanley raised its Equal Weight rating to Overweight and boosted the $87 price target to $120. The consensus target is $114.64. The stock closed at $87.53 on Tuesday.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.