Thursday's Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Abbott Labs, Carnival, Delta Air Lines, First Republic Bank, Lululemon, Macy's, Marathon Petroleum, Micron Technology and More

The futures traded higher on Thursday, after a solid Wednesday in which all the major indexes finished the day higher. Top strategists cited numerous reasons behind the mid-week gains, including Alibaba announcing its split into six different companies and strength in tech from China, and the return of former UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti to the bank, who will be charged with the enormous task of integrating Credit Suisse, which UBS acquired for $3.2 billion earlier this month to keep it from failing.

Treasury yields were flat across the curve Wednesday, which also provided a tailwind for stocks after jumping higher over the past few trading days. The two-year paper closed the day at 4.10%, and the 10-year note ended at 3.57%. The inversion between the two is considered a sign of an impending recession, and while the spread tightened noticeably last week, it is starting to widen again.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude both halted their climb higher this week, as each of the oil benchmarks closed lower despite the fact that the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced a large crude inventory draw of 7.5 million barrels for the week up to March 21. Natural gas finished the day lower again, closing at $1.98.

Gold closed lower as stocks rallied and profit takers stepped in after a very strong run over the past few weeks. The big winner Wednesday was Bitcoin which closed up over 4% on the day at $28,406. Analysts cited a big short squeeze on the cryptocurrency giant as one major reason for the rally.

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 30, 2023.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT): UBS initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $117 target price. The consensus target is up at $123.97, and the stock closed on Wednesday at $98.63.

Cadence Design Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CDNS): Zacks makes the case that its Bull of the Day is a “stealth” chip stock to own for the AI revolution. Shares last closed at $206.00, and its consensus price target of $216.57 would be an all-time high.

Carnival Corp. & PLC (NYSE: CCL): Susquehanna raised its Neutral rating to Positive and has an $11 price target. The consensus target is $10.68. The shares closed almost 6% higher on Wednesday at $9.89 after posting solid results this week.

Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN): Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to Equal Weight from Overweight and cut its $59 target price to $57. The consensus target is $63.64 for now. The stock closed on Tuesday at $51.34.

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