Wednesday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: BP, Exxon Mobil, Kroger, Microsoft, RingCentral, Wayfair, Wendy's and More

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The futures traded higher on Wednesday, after a mixed start to the holiday-shortened trading week that saw the Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 finish the day lower, with only the Nasdaq eking out a tiny gain. With earnings pouring in this week from 26 top S&P 500 companies, analysts will be looking not only at the fourth-quarter results but will be keenly focused on guidance for both the first quarter and the entire year. Many across Wall Street are expecting that full-year earnings forecasts for many stocks will have to be drastically lowered to accommodate what likely will be a slowing economy as the year progresses.

Treasury yields were flat to modestly higher across the curve on Tuesday, as the sellers from last Friday stepped back following a big rally last week that saw the 10-year yield drop back to levels not seen since the fall. With the United States ready to hit the debt limit on Thursday, you can bet that there will be some serious political fighting.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude continued to push higher Tuesday, with the former over the $85 a barrel level and WTI back over $80. Both major benchmarks were hit hard to start the year but rallied 8% last week, which carried over into Tuesday’s trading. Natural gas was the big winner in the energy complex, closing up almost 5% at $3.59. Gold was flat on the day, while Bitcoin continued to march higher, closing over the $21,000 level at $21,301. That is the highest close for the beleaguered cryptocurrency giant since September.

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 Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP): Scotiabank upgraded the European energy giant to Sector Outperform from Sector Perform and lifted its $37 target price to $42, above the $39.20 consensus target. The last trade on Tuesday was reported at $35.69.

Cadence Design Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CDNS): Atlantic Equities raised its Neutral rating to Overweight with a $200 target price. The consensus target is $190.65. The stock closed 2% higher on Tuesday at $172.97.

Checkpoint Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP): Wells Fargo raised its Underweight rating on the legacy cybersecurity software giant to Equal Weight and has a $130 target price. That is in line with Tuesday’s closing share price of $130.03.

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