The futures traded higher after another risk-off day Wednesday that saw all the major indexes close the day lower following Tuesday’s dreadful decline. Top analysts cited some positive earnings reports from retail giants Target (despite slashing its profit outlook) and TJX, but Walmart’s strong report likely helped boost the argument for the strong consumer. However, consumer credit card debt is now above a record $1 trillion, as Americans continue to spend, and that mounting debt could be a big problem down the road, especially if interest rates continue higher. Home builder optimism also cratered, as 30-year fixed mortgage rates surged back to the 7.62% level, the highest in 22 years.
Treasury yields were higher across the curve Wednesday, as sellers are starting to anticipate a possible increase in the federal funds rate in September. The 10-year note closed the day at 4.28%, and the two-year paper finished at 4.97%. The inversion, which has been in place for almost a year now, signals recession, which often starts 14 to 18 months after such a yield inversion starts.
After a rough start to the week, both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude bounced back Wednesday to finish the day higher. Traders cited the week’s huge inventory draw, which came after the preceding week’s surprising inventory build. Brent closed at $83.24, while WTI closed at $79.14. Natural gas closed higher at $2.60.
Gold also bounced back after a difficult week (and summer), as some in the industry are touting gold, silver and Bitcoin as holdings in case the economy collapses. That does not look imminent now, but after 16 months of rising interest rates, and the potential for more coming in September and perhaps even December as well, we could see a major economic slowdown. The December contract closed at $1,934.70. Bitcoin closed the day at $29,126.40.
24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each weekday 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 Wall Street analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday, August 17, 2023.
Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH): Citing top-line growth that has stalled out, Zacks selected this chemical company as its Bear of the Day. The stock has traded as high as $114.36 in the past year but closed most recently at $86.24.
Brixmor Property Group Inc. (NYSE: BRX): Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral and has a $27 target price. The consensus target is $25.24. The shares closed on Wednesday at $21.84.
Callon Petroleum Co. (NYSE: CPE): Citigroup’s upgrade to Buy from Neutral included a target price hike to $45 from $40. The consensus target is $46.93. The shares closed at $35.37 on Wednesday.
CAVA Group Inc. (NYSE: CAV): Jefferies reiterated a Buy rating with a $54 target price. The consensus target is $45.86. The shares closed on Wednesday at $46.93.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NASDAQ: CHK): J.P. Morgan reduced its Overweight rating to Neutral and its $97 target price to $96. The consensus target is up at $106.28. The shares closed on Wednesday at $82.58.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX): Mizuho’s upgrade to Buy from Neutral included a target price hike to $209 from $204. The consensus target is $186.24, and shares closed on Wednesday at $158.63.
GE Healthcare Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: GEHC): Wells Fargo started coverage with an Overweight rating and a $90 price objective. The consensus target is $89.63. The shares closed at $70.67 on Wednesday.
Getty Images Holdings Inc. (NYSE: GETY): Imperial Capital upgraded the stock to Outperform from In Line. Its $5.75 target price is less than the consensus target of $6.8. The last trade on Wednesday was at $4.16.
Gulfport Energy Corp. (NYSE: GPOR): As J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock to Overweight from Neutral, its $117 target price increased to $131. The consensus target is $134.67. The shares closed on Wednesday at $111.30.
Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. (NASDAQ: KDP): UBS upgraded the shares to Buy from Neutral, and the target price jumped from $27 to $42. The consensus target is $38.47. The stock closed on Wednesday at $33.85.
Matador Resources Co. (NYSE: MTDR): When Mizuho upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral, the analyst raised the target price to $78 from $66. The consensus target is $69.33. Wednesday’s close was at $58.78.
Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY): Truist Financial reiterated a Buy rating with a $48 target price. The $43.13 consensus is closer to Wednesday’s $36.17 close, which was up almost 7% on the day.
News Corp (NASDAQ: NWSA): Morgan Stanley resumed coverage with an Overweight rating. Its $27.50 target price is higher than the consensus target of $23.14 and Wednesday’s $21.11 closing share price.
PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR): Its Bull of the Day stock has been firing on all cylinders lately, says Zacks. Shares of the truck maker last closed at $84.56, and the $90.26 consensus price target would be an all-time high.
Permian Resources Corp. (NYSE: PR): Mizuho upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral and raised its $13 target price to $16. The consensus target is $13.93. Wednesday’s close was at $12.23.
Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD): J.P. Morgan’s upgrade was to Overweight from Neutral, and its $251 target price popped to $264. The consensus target is $252.89. The stock closed on Wednesday at $234.15.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN): Truist Financial reiterated a Buy rating. Its $1,045 price objective is well above the $871.95 consensus figure, as well as Wednesday’s $797.34 close.
Sea Ltd. (NYSE: SE): Citigroup downgraded the shares from Buy to Neutral with a $50 target price. The consensus target is $81.42 for now. The final trade Wednesday was for $40.50 a share.
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. (NYSE: SKT): Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to Neutral from Buy. Its $26 target price is still above the consensus target of $21.42, which is below Wednesday’s close at $23.82.
Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT): J.P. Morgan resumed coverage with a Neutral rating and a $35 target price. That is well above the $25.60 consensus target and Wednesday’s closing print of $29.69.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) Jefferies reiterated a Buy rating and has a $280 target price. The consensus target is $277.61. Wednesday’s final trade was for $239.29 a share.
August and September typically are the worst months of the year for stocks, so it makes sense now to take winnings and move to dividend-paying safe-haven stocks. Seven of them are trading incredibly cheaply and offering investors very timely entry points.
Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Dick’s Sporting Goods, Home Depot, Navitas Semiconductor, Nvidia, Palo Alto Networks, TJX Companies, Uber Technologies and Workday.
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