Are Employment Numbers Good Enough? Analysts Upgrade or Downgrade Pinterest, Transocean, Verizon and More

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Markets continued their slide on Thursday, after an especially horrific session on Wednesday. While everything seems to be on the downtrend right now, Monday and Tuesday’s rally potentially could hold up for the rest of the week, marking the first week of gains in a while.

In terms of the economics, this has been a week chock-full of employment data. Most recently, the ADP private employment report demonstrated that the U.S. economy added 208,000 jobs, topping forecasts. On Tuesday, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed that vacancies dropped to 10.1 million in August, down from 11.2 million in July.

The September Employment report is due out Friday. With all these other numbers impressing economists, the mood appears to be optimistic going into the report. Analysts are calling for nonfarm payrolls to add 250,000 new jobs in September, with a gain of 280,000 in the private sector.

All this data has some on Wall Street thinking that the Federal Reserve may adjust course on its policy tightening sooner than expected, but many of the bears remain skeptical that this data will convince officials in the U.S. central bank.

Here, 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 Blackstone, FedEx, Home Depot, Palo Alto Networks, Twitter and more.

Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY): Raymond James downgraded the stock to Market Perform from Outperform. Shares traded near $30 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $27.77 to $56.28.

AutoNation Inc. (NYSE: AN): J.P. Morgan’s downgrade was from Overweight to Neutral with a $125 price target. Shares have traded as high as $135.57 in the past year but were near $100 on Thursday, which is down about 10% year to date.

ChampionX Corp. (NASDAQ: CHX): Barclays lowered its Overweight rating to Equal Weight and cut the $38 price target to $28. Shares were last seen trading near $21. The 52-week range is $16.64 to $28.08.

CMS Energy Corp. (NYSE: CMS): Seaport Research Partners upgraded the shares to Buy from Neutral and have a $63 price target. Shares traded near $57 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $56.93 to $73.76.

Credit Suisse Group A.G. (NYSE: CS): J.P. Morgan’s Underweight rating rose to Neutral. The stock was last seen trading near $4, in a 52-week range of $3.70 to $11.04.

Fox Corp. (NASDAQ: FOXA): Argus upgraded the stock to Buy from Hold and has a $43 price target. The 52-week trading range is $30.31 to $44.95. Shares changed hands near $31 apiece on Thursday.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX): Exane BNP Paribas cut its Outperform rating to Neutral with a $29 price target. The shares traded near $29 on Thursday. The 52-week range is $24.80 to $51.99.

Pinterest Inc. (NYSE: PINS): The Goldman Sachs upgrade to Buy from Neutral included a price target hike to $31 from $24. The 52-week trading range is $16.14 to $66.00. The share price was near $25 on Thursday.

Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG): As Barclays upgraded it to Overweight from Underweight, the firm raised its $3.50 price target to $5. The 52-week trading range is $2.32 to $5.56, and the share price was near $3 on Thursday.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ): Perform rating at Oppenheimer changed to Outperform with a $50 price target. Shares were last seen trading near $39, in a 52-week range of $37.95 to $55.51.

Now that it looks like OPEC is ready to get serious about supporting the price of crude, seven leading energy infrastructure stocks make sense for investors who are more conservative and looking for solid total return potential.

Morgan Stanley picks a favorite between rivals Ford and General Motors.

And see what nearly all companies leave out of their financial reports.

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