August Employment Tops Estimates: Analysts Upgrade or Downgrade Dow, Salesforce and More

Markets bounced back on Friday after five consecutive down days. The losing streak was initiated last Friday when Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, reaffirming the Fed’s hawkish narrative against inflation. Each of the major averages was pushing higher, up at least 1%.

Markets also were bolstered by a strong showing in the August employment report. According to the report, nonfarm payrolls grew by 315,000 in August, with an unemployment rate of 3.7%. Analysts were calling for nonfarm payrolls to come in at 298,000, but for the unemployment rate to hold at 3.5%.

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 Caterpillar, Costco, Nvidia, Pure Storage, Seagate and more.

Azure Power Global Ltd. (NYSE: AZRE): RBC Capital Markets downgraded the stock to Sector Perform from Outperform and cut the price target to $5 from $34. The shares traded near $3.50 on Friday. The 52-week range is $3.26 to $25.30.

CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWD): Atlantic Equities started coverage with a Neutral rating and a $200 price target. Shares traded near $175 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $130.00 to $298.48.

Dow Inc. (NYSE: DOW): J.P. Morgan’s downgrade was to Neutral from Overweight, and it cut the $60 price target to $47. On Friday, shares traded near the bottom of the 52-week range of $48.27 to $71.86.

Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT): Atlantic Equities started coverage with an Overweight rating and a $76 price target. Shares have traded as high as $74.35 in the past year but were near $49 on Friday, which is down 32% year to date.

Okta Inc. (NASDAQ: OKTA): As Guggenheim raised its Sell rating to Neutral, it cut the $89 price target to $65. The stock was last seen trading near that new target, in a 52-week range of $58.12 to $276.30.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: PANW): Atlantic Equities started coverage with a Neutral rating and a $495 price target. The 52-week trading range is $421.55 to $640.90, and the share price was near $550 on Friday.

Salesforce Inc. (NYSE: CRM): Guggenheim upgraded the shares from Sell to Neutral with a $150 price target. The 52-week trading range is $150.87 to $311.75. Shares changed hands near $158 apiece on Friday.

With interest rates rising and inflation stripping bond yields to zilch, seven Dividend King stocks offer outstanding safety and total return potential for worried growth and income investors to consider now.

The landscape is shifting for the top telecom stocks. Also, see why one key analyst sees new China headwinds for Nvidia and which EV maker dethroned Tesla in second-quarter sales.

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