Investing

Huge July Employment Report: Analysts Upgrade or Downgrade Duke Energy, Paramount, Teva Pharmaceutical and More

Markets turned lower to close out the week, despite a fairly strong employment report for July. The Nasdaq was leading the charge lower, down about 1%. The Dow Jones industrials were down 0.5%, and the S&P 500 was down 0.8%.

The July employment report that came out Friday morning topped consensus estimates across the board. The report’s big number, the nonfarm payrolls, came in at 528,000, crushing the consensus forecast of 250,000 and even June’s number of 398,000.

The unemployment rate came in at 3.5%, down slightly from June’s 3.6%. It is worth noting that this is the lowest unemployment rate that we have seen since February 2020, before the pandemic kicked off. Basically, this report demonstrated a return to pre-pandemic levels across the board.

It remains to be seen how the Federal Reserve will respond to these numbers, but for now it is definitely a stock-picker’s market.

24/7 Wall St. is reviewing additional analyst calls seen on Friday. We have included the latest call on each stock, as well as a recent trading history and the consensus targets among analysts. Note that analyst calls seen earlier in the day were on Costco, Fortinet, Levi Strauss, Match, Robinhood and more.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAD): Citigroup downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy and cut its $19 price target to $15. The 52-week trading range is $12.24 to $28.06, and shares traded near $15 apiece on Friday.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: BCRX): Oppenheimer’s downgrade was to Perform from Outperform, and the downgrade at Evercore ISI was from Outperform to In-Line with a $14 price target. The 52-week trading range is $7.61 to $19.99. Shares changed hands near $13 apiece on Friday.

Deciphera Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: DCPH): JMP Securities upgraded the shares to Outperform from Market Perform and has a $23 price target. The shares traded at around $16 on Friday. The 52-week trading range is $6.51 to $37.99 a share.

Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK): Credit Suisse lowered its Outperform rating to Neutral but raised its $112 price target to $114. The 52-week trading range is $95.48 to $116.33, and the share price was near $109 Friday.

Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K): Piper Sandler lifted its Neutral rating to Overweight with a $74 price target. The 52-week trading range is $59.54 to $76.45. The stock traded near $74 on Friday.

Paramount Global (NASDAQ: PARA): J.P. Morgan downgraded the stock to Underweight from Neutral and has a $25 price target. The 52-week trading range is $23.15 to $42.17, and shares were trading near $24 on Friday.

Rhythm Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: RYTM): The BofA Securities upgraded to Neutral from Underperform a price target hike from $8 all the way to $20. The stock traded near $18 on Friday. The 52-week trading range is $3.04 to $19.24.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA): As BofA Securities upgraded the shares to Buy from Neutral, it also raised the $10 price target to $13. The stock traded near $10 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $6.78 to $10.50.


We are in one of the worst economic periods in America in decades, so buying stocks that will pay big, dependable dividends until the mess is sorted out continues to make sense. Seven stocks offer investors outstanding entry points and are Buy rated at top Wall Street firms.

Also see which five semiconductor stocks are poised to benefit from the U.S. CHIPS Act, three fresh stock picks with big upside potential and the three hot stocks investors may want to sell right away.

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