The futures were trading mixed, as we kicked off March trading with all the major indexes finishing the day down, with the exception of the Dow Jones industrials, which scratched out a tiny gain. While the market started higher early in the session after positive purchasing managers data out of China, stocks turned negative fast as once again interest rates continue to press higher. Rising interest rates were cited as a big headwind, as was the likelihood that earnings estimates will continue to deteriorate as the year moves along. In addition, geopolitical tensions around the world are ramping up as the Russia-Ukraine war spills into its second year.
The aforementioned Treasury yields climbed across all maturities Wednesday. The 10-year note pushed back to the 4% level for the first time since November of 2022. Higher rates are also pressuring home buyers again as applications for mortgages plunged last week and are down 44% year over year. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 6.7% recently and, given the moves higher in benchmark rates this week, probably will move back close to 7%.
Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude closed modestly higher on Wednesday after a smaller than expected build in commercial crude inventories. Energy analysts also cited the positive Chinese purchasing managers index numbers as a plus for the sector. Natural gas finished the day up over 2% at $2.81. Gold ended the day higher, while Bitcoin jumped 1.5% on the day to close at $23,476.
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 Thursday, March 2, 2023.
AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV): Guggenheim initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $172 target price. The consensus target is lower at $163.50. The final trade for Wednesday was reported at $155.27.
American Lithium Corp. (NASDAQ: AMLI): B. Riley Securities initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $5 target price. The stock closed on Wednesday at $2.86 a share.
AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO): Goldman Sachs raised its $2,563 target price for the Buy-rated retailer to $2,899. That compares with a $2,678 consensus target and Wednesday’s closing share price of $2,456.57.
Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA): Jefferies reiterated a Buy rating with a $250 target price. The consensus target is $227.40. The shares closed on Wednesday at $204.55.
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