Wednesday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Alphabet, Bank of America, Dollar General, Halliburton, Paramount Global, SoFi and More

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The futures were lower on Wednesday, as we begin a new trading month after a turnaround in January that saw all the major indexes finish the month higher, after closing out Tuesday up big across the board. All eyes across Wall Street are focused on the Federal Reserve, which will announce the increase in the federal funds rate Wednesday afternoon. While the futures suggest a 25-basis-point increase is all but done, the financial conditions in the markets are back to where they stood a year ago, which likely gives Fed Chair Jay Powell the tailwind to do a 50-basis-point increase while pushing back against hope for a policy pivot.

Treasury yields were mixed across the curve Tuesday, as the bond market also anxiously awaits the Fed decision. While the smaller increase is likely, it will not change the inversion between the 10-year note, which closed at 3.53%, and the two-year note, which finished the day at 4.21%. The bond market and many economists, using history as a guide, maintain the ongoing inversion is a sign that a recession is on the way.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude posted mixed results, with the former closing lower while the latter finished the day over 1% higher. The winter vortex storm in the Permian Basin likely will shut down production for WTI. Natural gas rallied off the plunging temperatures, closing up almost 2.5%. Gold and Bitcoin closed higher, with the cryptocurrency finishing the day just below the $23,000 level.

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, February 1, 2023.

Albemarle Corp. (NYSE: ALB): Credit Suisse reiterated an Underweight rating on the stock and raised its price target to $240 from $200. The consensus target is $308.84. The stock closed over 3% higher on Tuesday at $281.45.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG): BofA Securities reiterated a Buy rating and nudged its $116 price target up to $119. The consensus target is higher at $124.05. Tuesday’s close was at $99.87.

AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE: ABC): Evercore ISI resumed coverage with an Outperform rating and a $185 target price. The consensus target is $180.25, The final trade on Tuesday was for $168.96 a share.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC): Atlantic Equities cut its Overweight rating to Neutral with a $40 target price. The consensus target is $40.92. The closing share price on Tuesday was $35.48.
Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR): RBC Capital Markets reiterated an Outperform rating but dropped its $460 target price to $440. The consensus target is up at $494.23. Tuesday’s close was at $384.31.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG): Oppenheimer reiterated an Outperform rating. Its $285 target price is well above the $265.50 consensus target and Tuesday’s close at $233.60.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW): As Bernstein downgraded the stock to Underperform from Outperform, it also slashed its $95 price target to $66. The consensus target is $90.38. The stock closed on Tuesday at $76.70.

FLEETCOR Technologies Inc. (NYSE: FLT): The BofA Securities upgrade was to Buy from Neutral, and its target price rose to $240 from $208. The consensus target is $229.05. Tuesday’s close at $208.81 was up close to 4% for the day on the upgrade.

Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT): MKM Partners reiterated a Buy rating but trimmed its target price from $70 to $65. The consensus target is $64.17. The stock closed almost 3% higher on Tuesday at $52.38.

Fox Corp. (NASDAQ: FOXA): Morgan Stanley resumed coverage with an Equal Weight rating and a $37 target price. The consensus target is in line at $37.13. The stock closed on Tuesday at $33.94.

Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL): Citing strong cash flow from oil and gas services growth, as well as rising price targets, Zacks named this oilfield services giant its Bull of the Day stock. Shares last closed at $41.22 a share, and the $49.15 consensus price target would be a multiyear high.

Incyte Corp. (NASDAQ: INCY): Piper Sandler started coverage with an Overweight rating and a $100 price target. That compares with an $87.44 consensus target and Tuesday’s closing print of $85.14.

LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (NYSE: LYB): Atlantic Equities upgraded the chemical heavyweight to Overweight from Neutral. Its $100 price objective is higher than the $88.20 consensus target. Shares were last seen on Tuesday trading at $96.71 apiece.
New Fortress Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: NFE): BTIG Research raised its Neutral rating to Buy with a $50 target price. The consensus target is higher at $68.56. The shares were last seen Tuesday at $38.79, which was up over 4% for the day on the upgrade.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: NUS): Jefferies downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy. It also cut its $43 price target to $39, near the consensus target of $39.25. The stock closed on Tuesday at $42.88.

Olin Corp. (NYSE: OLN): Goldman Sachs raised its $65 target price on the Buy-rated shares to $74. The consensus target is $68.40. The stock closed 3% higher on Tuesday at $64.59.

Paramount Global (NASDAQ: PARA): Macquarie lowered its Neutral rating to Underperform and has a target price of $15. The consensus target is $19.71. The stock closed on Tuesday at $23.16. That was up almost 3% on the day.

Planet Fitness Inc. (NYSE: PLNT): Jefferies reiterated a Buy rating and has a $31 target price. The consensus target is $115.00, and Tuesday’s close was at $84.65 a share.

Q2 Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: QTWO): Baird downgraded the stock to Neutral from Outperform and has a $32 target. The consensus target is $36.33. The shares closed on Tuesday at $32.72.

SoFi Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFI): Oppenheimer reiterated an Outperform rating and raised its $6 target price to $7. The consensus target is $7.42. The shares ended Tuesday trading at $6.93.

Truist Financial Corp. (NYSE: TFC): Stephens downgraded the stock to Equal Weight from Overweight and has a $53 target. The consensus target is set at $51.81. The shares closed Tuesday at $49.39.

Investors worried about Chinese saber-rattling over Taiwan may want to consider six leading defense companies with Buy-rated stocks and solid and dependable dividends. They are bound to see surging demand for the rest of the year and into 2024 due to various geopolitical concerns.

Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Advanced Micro Devices,, Colgate-Palmolive, Kohl’s, Lockheed Martin, Lyft, Macy’s, Meta Platforms, Okta, Shopify, Tesla and Uber Technologies.

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