Jobless Claims Signal Labor Softening: Analysts Upgrade or Downgrade Coupang, Exxon, Lowe's and More

Markets pushed higher on Thursday, continuing Wednesday’s optimism in regards to slowing inflation. The Dow Jones industrials led the charge higher, up about 0.7%, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 were up 0.5% each.

Jobless claims rose for the second consecutive week, demonstrating that there was some softening within the labor market, despite a strong July employment report. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, initial claims rose 14,000 to 262,000, coming in just under a consensus estimate of 263,000.

It is worth pointing out that economists previously noted that, should jobless claims fall within the range of 270,000 to 300,000, there might very well be a material slowdown in the labor market.

24/7 Wall St. is reviewing additional analyst calls seen on Thursday. 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 Coinbase, Disney, Micron, Shopify, Take-Two Interactive and more.

Boot Barn Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BOOT): Seaport Research Partners upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral and has a $100 price target. The stock traded near $71 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $58.51 to $134.50.

BuzzFeed Inc. (NASDAQ: BZFD): The BofA Securities downgrade to Underperform from Neutral included a price target cut to $2.00 from $4.50. The 52-week trading range is $1.50 to $14.77, and shares traded near $2 apiece on Thursday.

Cheniere Energy Partners L.P. (NYSE: CQP): Evercore ISI raised its In-Line rating to Outperform and nudged the $54 price target to $55. The 52-week trading range is $38.00 to $61.91. Shares changed hands near $48 apiece on Thursday.

Coupang Inc. (NYSE: CPNG): Deutsche Bank’s downgrade to Neutral from Buy came with a price target cut to $15.00 from $18.50. The shares traded near $21 on Thursday. The 52-week trading range is $8.98 to $36.49.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM): Credit Suisse resumed coverage with an Outperform rating and a $125 price target. The stock traded near $92 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $52.10 to $105.57.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR): The KeyBanc Capital Markets upgrade was from Sector Weight to Overweight with a $145 price target. The 52-week trading range is $59.60 to $123.13, and the share price was near $117 Thursday.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW): Citigroup downgraded it to Neutral from Buy and cut the $222 price target to $205. The 52-week trading range is $170.12 to $263.31, and shares were trading near $201 on Thursday.

Traeger Inc. (NYSE: COOK): William Blair’s Outperform rating was cut to Market Perform. Robert Baird lowered its Outperform rating to Neutral and reduced its $7 price target to $4. Shares have traded as high as $29.46 in the past year but were near $4 on Thursday, which is down 67% or so year to date.

Upstart Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: UPST): The Atlantic Equities downgrade was to Underweight from Neutral, and the firm cut the $32 price target to $22. The stock traded at around $34 on Thursday. The 52-week range is $22.42 to $401.49 a share.

For income investors: Seven quality stocks can survive in a turbulent market, and they pay big and dependable dividends. Not only do the companies provide goods and services needed regardless of prevailing economic conditions, they also are strong players in their respective sectors.

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