The futures were lower Thursday following another positive trading day in which all three major indexes ended higher, with only the Russell 2000 closing lower. The Nasdaq initially got a huge boost, after Alphabet posted gigantic results and announced a massive 20-for-1 stock split. However, a very disappointing ADP employment change report (which showed a decline of 301,000 jobs versus an expected increase of 220,000) had the risk-off sellers back in business until the afternoon, when the markets reversed once again and turned higher. The very weak report will have all eyes on Wall Street laser-focused on the nonfarm payrolls report for January, which will be released Friday morning.
Despite the weak ADP report, one big positive for investors and the economy is that the surge of Omicron cases appears to be peaking and starting to fall. Also, the corporate stock buyback windows are starting to reopen, and that could put a supporting bid under the market. Some strategists even noted that stocks have performed reasonably well against an inflation backdrop and the prospect of continued rate hikes.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week with a goal of finding fresh 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, February 3, 2022.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD): Deutsche Bank reiterated a Hold rating on the shares and lifted the target price to $140 from $120, while Rosenblatt kept a Buy rating and moved its $180 target to $200. The consensus target for the chip giant is $142.88. The closing share price on Wednesday was $122.76, after a 5% gain in the wake of the company’s outstanding earnings report.
Ameresco Inc. (NYSE: AMRC): Though BofA Securities upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral, it also slashed the $88 target price to $61. The consensus target is $85.77. The stock closed on Wednesday at $49.28 per share.
Axalta Coating Solutions Ltd. (NYSE: AXTA): Vertical Research’s downgrade was from Buy to Hold with a $34 target price. The consensus target is $36.43. The final trade on Wednesday came in at $29.38.
Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ: BYND): BMO Capital Markets began coverage with a Market Perform rating and a $68 target price. The consensus target is $72.71. The shares closed Wednesday at $64, down over 4% for the day.
Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL): Bernstein upgraded the consumer staple heavyweight to Market Perform from Underperform and has an $83 target price. The consensus target $86.89. The final trade on Wednesday was at $82.80 a share.
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