Friday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Datadog, Las Vegas Sands, Lyft, Nasdaq, Match, Pfizer, Walmart and More

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The futures were lower as we get set to end a back-and-forth week that saw the major indexes once again finish the day higher Thursday. The first reading for fourth-quarter gross domestic product came in higher than expected at 2.9%, and Tesla earnings also surprised to the upside. However, many chalked the GDP surprise up to inventory builds, which could bring a much different result when the first quarter results are posted in April.

Treasury yields were up modestly across the curve as sellers pushed the benchmark 10-year note back up to close at 3.49%, after buyers over the past week had knocked yields back down to levels not seen since September. The stronger than expected GDP print was cited as the main reason for the backup. The two-year paper closed at 4.19%, keeping the widest inversion in years in place. Bond traders see the inversion as a recession signal.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude continued their march higher, both closing Thursday up well over 1%. Brent zeroed back in on the $90 level. The big story in the energy complex was natural gas closing below the $3 level for the first time since May of 2021, ending the day at $2.91. Worries that suppliers would be unable to meet wintertime demands around the globe have been replaced by an unseasonably warm winter and other factors leading gas prices to drop more than 70%, after printing a 14-year high of $10.03 in August. This could change fast as an early February winter blast is expected.

Gold closed lower on the day, down almost 1%, while Bitcoin, which was down big early, rallied to close just above the $23,000 level. The cryptocurrency has recouped all the losses from the FTX implosion but remains extremely volatile.

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, January 27, 2023.

Albemarle Corp. (NYSE: ALB): Piper Sandler started coverage with an Overweight rating and a $310 target price. The consensus target is $307.24. The stock closed 3% higher on Thursday at $279.24.

Alerus Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: ALRS): Hovde downgraded the shares to Market Perform from Outperform. Its $21 target price is less than the consensus target of $25. Thursday’s close at $20 was down over 11% on the day after missing earnings estimates.

Carters Inc. (NYSE: CRI): Wedbush’s downgrade was from Outperform to Neutral with a $78 target price. The consensus target is $70.71. The shares were last seen on Thursday at $80.60.

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