The futures traded lower as investors get ready to finish the holiday-shortened trading week, as well as a horrific 2022 in which all the major indexes will end the year lower, after all three closed higher on Thursday. The Nasdaq will finish the year deep in bear market territory, with the S&P 500 very close. Only the venerable Dow Jones industrials will finish the year with just a single-digit loss.
Volume was extremely low on Thursday, and most market strategists are expecting more downside for stocks in the first half of 2023, as interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve are still in play and inflation, while slowing, is still much higher than the Fed will tolerate. All eyes are focused on the second half of 2023, where many feel the rate hikes will be over and stocks could rally in a big way.
Treasury yields were lower across the curve as buyers stepped in after some sizable institutional selling over the past week. The 10-year note closed at 3.84%, while the two-year paper finished the day at 4.37%, widening the inversion to the largest level over the past week. Bond traders see the ongoing difference in yields as a sign of an impending recession.
Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude finished lower, as traders weigh the potential for the China opening to slow as once again COVID-19 cases spike. Travelers from China will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter the United States. Natural gas was hit once again on Thursday, closing down almost 3% at $4.55. Gold and Bitcoin finished the day higher as bargain hunters looked to add or increase positions before the end of the year.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week with a goal of finding fresh ideas for investors and traders alike. Some of these daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy. Other calls cover stocks to sell or avoid. Remember that no single analyst call should ever be used as a basis to buy or sell a stock. Consensus analyst target data is from Refinitiv.
These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Friday, December 30, 2022.
Acuity Brands Inc. (NYSE: AYI): William Blair reiterated a Market Perform rating with a $187 target price. The consensus target is $191.57. The closing share price on Thursday was $167.21.
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC): Wedbush reiterated an Underperform rating with a $2 target price. The consensus target for the meme stock favorite is $2.99. The shares closed almost 8% higher on Thursday at $4.14.
Axos Financial Inc. (NYSE: AX): Keefe Bruyette reiterated an Overweight rating with a $54 target price. The consensus target is $48.67. The stock closed almost 4% higher on Thursday at $39.01.
Beazer Homes USA Inc. (NYSE: BZH): Noting that homebuilders are facing a challenging 2023, Zacks selected this stock as its Bear of the Day. Its shares have traded as high as $23.65 in the past year but closed most recently at $12.90.
Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM): BofA Securities reiterated an Underperform rating with a $55 target price. The consensus target is $60.67. The shares closed on Thursday at $53.17, which was down close to 15% for the day after missing earnings estimates.
CEL-SCI Corp. (NYSE: CVM): E.F. Hutton lowered its $17 price target to $16 but kept its Buy rating intact. The consensus target is $17.00. Thursday’s close was at $2.20.
CNH Industrial N.V. (NYSE: CNHI): Pondering whether investors should bet on the old economy in 2023, Zacks named this agricultural and construction equipment maker as its Bull of the Day stock. The shares last closed at $16.21, which is up more than 45% in the past 90 days.
Duck Creek Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: DCT): Raymond James reiterated an Outperform rating with a $15 target price. The consensus target is $15.33. The stock closed on Thursday at $11.70, up almost 5% on the day.
Greentree Hospitality Group Ltd. (NYSE: GHG): Citigroup lowered its $5.71 target price to $5 but maintained a Buy rating. The consensus target is $5.59. The closing share price on Thursday was $3.82.
Kala Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: KALA): Oppenheimer reiterated an Outperform rating with a $37 target price. The consensus target is higher at $45.88. Thursday’s $24.84 close was up almost 100% after the FDA accepted the company’s investigational new drug application for its lead product candidate, KPI-012.
Mondee Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: MOND): Tigress Financial initiated coverage with a Buy rating. The stock has traded between $6.74 and $16.98 over the past year, and the consensus target is $12.25. Thursday’s close at $10.40 was up almost 5% on the day.
Opendoor Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN): BTIG Research reiterated a Buy rating with a $6 target price. That compares with the lower $4.29 consensus target and Thursday’s $1.13 close, which was up close to 8% on the research call.
PDS Biotechnology Corp. (NASDAQ: PDSB): Oppenheimer reiterated an Outperform rating and has a $25 target price. The consensus target is $18.25. The stock ended Thursday trading at $12.92, which was up over 13% for the day on positive clinical results.
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA): CFRA raised its Sell rating to Buy. Over the past 52 weeks, shares have traded in a wide range of $108.24 to $402.67. The consensus target price is $246.53, and shares closed on Thursday at $121.82, up over 8% on the day, on the upgrades, short covering and, likely, bargain hunting.
TG Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: TGTX): BofA Securities raised its $5 price target to $6 while keeping an Underperform rating. The consensus target is up at $17.67. The stock closed almost 23% higher on Thursday at $10.40 after a positive FDA ruling for its MS drug.
Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: RARE): H.C. Wainwright resumed coverage with a Buy rating and an $82 target price. The consensus target is $93.53. Thursday’s close at $45.17 was up almost 4% for the day.
Adding some alpha-generating tech stocks at bargain prices makes sense now for aggressive growth investors with some dry powder. Seven sector leaders pay big, dependable dividends and have solid upside potential for 2023.
Also check out the preliminary Dogs of the Dow for 2023.
Thursday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included ADT, Aurora Cannabis, CarMax, Skechers, Tesla and Tilray.
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