Fed Sets Up More Rate Hikes: Analysts Upgrade or Downgrade Gap, Zoom Video and More

Markets came crashing down to close out the week, with the Nasdaq’s 2% retreat leading the charge lower. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrials were down 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively, on last look. All this came as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell proclaimed that interest rates will continue to rise until the “job is done.”

Powell noted that July’s lower inflation readings were welcome, but a single month is not enough for the Federal Open Markets Committee to halt the increase in interest rates. So far, the central bank has instituted four consecutive interest rate hikes over the past six months, raising rates in June and July by 75 basis points, the Fed’s largest moves since 1994.

Powell believes that more rate hikes are needed to combat these historic levels of inflation. However, he did mention that at some point the Fed will move to slow the pace of its rate hikes.

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 First Solar, KB Home, NetApp, Nvidia, Salesforce and more.

Burlington Stores Inc. (NYSE: BURL): William Blair resumed coverage of the shares with an Outperform rating. The 52-week trading range is $133.28 to $318.35, and the stock traded near $144 on Friday.

FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE: FDS): Deutsche Bank’s upgrade was from Hold to Buy with a $507 price target. The 52-week trading range is $345.92 to $495.40, and the share price was near $452 on Friday.

Forge Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: FRGE): JMP Securities started coverage with an Outperform rating and a $10 price target. William Blair initiated coverage with a Market Perform rating. The shares traded near $3 on Friday. The 52-week range is $3.21 to $47.50.

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS): Morgan Stanley resumed coverage with an Underweight rating and raised the $7.50 price target to $8. Shares traded near $10 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $7.79 to $27.99.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (NYSE: IHG): J.P. Morgan lowered its Overweight rating to Neutral. Shares have traded as high as $73.40 in the past year but were near $57 on Friday, which is down 8% year to date.

Open Text Corp. (NASDAQ: OTEX): CIBC downgraded the stock to Neutral from Outperform. Shares traded near $32 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $32.29 to $55.25.

Ulta Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA): William Blair started coverage with an Outperform rating. The stock traded near $419 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $330.80 to $438.63.

Verona Pharma PLC (NASDAQ: VRNA): Piper Sandler initiated coverage with an Overweight rating and a $31 price target. The 52-week trading range is $3.41 to $14.69. Shares changed hands near $11 apiece on Friday.

Zoom Video Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM): Argus cut its Buy rating to Hold. The stock was last seen trading near $81 with a 52-week range of $79.03 to $348.30.

With the potential for a serious downside move looming, and interest rates headed higher, investors may want to consider the Dividend Aristocrats. Seven of these stocks are in defensive sectors and look poised to do well for the rest of 2022.

Are consumer sentiment and spending heading in different directions?

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