The futures were lower as we prepare to start a new week and the final quarter of 2023. The major indexes closed lower across the board on Friday, with the S&P 500 closing down for the fourth straight week, to wrap up things for the third quarter. Only the tech-heavy Nasdaq finished the day higher, up 0.14% to close at 13,219.32. As expected, plenty of institutional accounts were busy squaring up their books and portfolios, so a fair amount of the buying was likely window-dressing for the quarter as portfolio managers added some of the red-hot tech stocks that have ripped higher in 2023.
Treasury yields were modestly lower across the curve Friday to finish the quarter, as many institutional accounts looked to add the highest-yielding risk-free government debt in years. The 10-year note still closed at a lofty 4.58%, while the two-year paper closed at 5.06%. While the inversion spread between the two has narrowed to the tightest level in some time, it still reflects the potential for a recession in 2024.
Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude closed lower on Friday with Brent closing down a miniscule 0.07% at $95.31, while WTI also closed lower by 0.86% at $90.92. Traders celebrated a huge quarter for the black gold, as oil both benchmarks rose by over 30% in the quarter.
With ongoing production cuts and demand staying solid, prices may still trend higher in the fourth quarter. Analysts have continued to raise their oil price forecasts for the end of 2023, with some at the $100 per barrel level. Natural gas finished the day at $2.94, the highest since last January.
Gold continued its downward spiral to finish the quarter as one of the worst-performing assets. The December contract closed trading on Friday at $1,864.70, down another 0.74% on the day. After closing over the $2,000 level in late April, the bullion closed out September down 4.3% and finished the quarter down 3.3%. Bitcoin, which also had a dreadful quarter, down almost 14%, after trading over $30,000 in early July, closed Friday down 0.49% at $26,894.50.
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 analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Monday, October 2, 2023.
AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV): Raymond James started coverage with an Outperform rating and a $177 target price. The consensus target is $169.61, and shares closed on Friday at $149.06.
Adobe Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE): HSBC Securities initiated coverage with a Hold rating and a $519 target price. That compares with a consensus target of $604.57 and Friday’s closing print of $509.90.
Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP): Citing volatility and underperformance, Zacks selected this as its Bear of the Day stock. Shares have traded as high as $194.35 in the past year but closed most recently at $55.93.
Alnylam Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY): Raymond James started coverage with an Outperform rating and a $208 target price. The consensus target is $245.83. Shares closed on Friday at $177.10.
Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A./N.V. (NYSE: BUD): The BofA Securities upgrade was to Buy from Neutral, and its $68 target price compares with a consensus target of $66.76. Friday’s close was at $55.30.
Ball Corp. (NYSE: BALL): Jefferies lifted its Hold rating to Buy and its $63 price objective to $64. The consensus target is $60.33. Shares closed almost 4% higher on the day at $49.78 following the upgrade.
Brinker International Inc. (NYSE: EAT): Stifel’s upgrade to Buy from Hold included a target price hike to $45 from $38. The consensus target is $38.31. The shares closed on Friday at $31.59, up 2% for the day due to the upgrade.
Bumble Inc. (NASDAQ: BMBL): Loop Capital upgraded the stock to Buy from Hold and has a $18 target price. The consensus target is higher at $23.57. The stock closed almost 4% higher on Friday at $14.92 after the upgrade.
Editas Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: EDIT): Stifel upgraded the shares to Buy from Hold and boosted its price target to $17 from $9. The consensus target is $13.63. Friday’s $7.80 closing share price was up almost 13% for the day on the upgrade and potential for solid clinicals on the firm’s gene-editing therapy targeting sickle cell disease.
Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX): Goldman Sachs lowered its $232 target price on the Neutral-rated shares to $208. The consensus target is $225, and Friday’s last trade was for $183.18 a share.
Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT): HSBC Securities initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $75 target price. The consensus target is $74.55, and Friday’s closing share price was $58.68.
Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU): HSBC Securities initiated coverage with a Hold rating and a $520 target price. The consensus target is $564.38. Friday’s close was at $510.94.
Lattice Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: LSCC): BofA Securities started coverage with a Neutral rating and a $95 target price. The consensus target is $103.18. Friday’s close was at $85.93.
NICE Ltd. (NASDAQ: NICE): D.A. Davidson started coverage with a Neutral rating and a $190 price target. The consensus target is up at $250.70, but shares closed on Friday at $170.00.
Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE): Stifel reiterated a Buy rating and has a $135 target price. The consensus target is $121.66. Friday’s $95.62 closed up almost 7% after a solid earnings beat and positive commentary on sales in China after the missed estimates.
Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: PANW): HSBC Securities initiated coverage with a Hold rating and a $242 target price. That compares with a $274.57 consensus target and Friday’s close at $234.44.
ShockWave Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: SWAV): UBS initiated coverage with a Neutral rating and a $218 target price. The consensus target is $284.89. Friday’s close was at $199.10.
Sunoco L.P. (NYSE: SUN): Mizuho cut its Buy rating to Neutral with a $53 target price. The consensus target is $50.86. The stock closed over 4% lower on Friday $48.95 after the downgrade.
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Texas Roadhouse Inc. (NASDAQ: TXRH): Northcoast boosted its Neutral rating to Buy with a $118 target price. The consensus target is $121.20. The stock closed on Friday at $96.10.
Tractor Supply Co. (NASDAQ: TSCO): Wolfe Research resumed coverage with an Outperform rating, but its $239 target price is less than the consensus target of $245.63. The stock ended Friday’s session trading at $203.05.
Trimble Inc. (NASDAQ: TRMB): Raymond James upgraded the stock to Outperform from Market Perform and has a $65 per share target. The consensus target is $58.50. The stock closed almost 3% higher on Friday at $53.86.
Five top companies that Wall Street favorites are expected to raise their dividends this week, showing that they are doing well and have the earnings and cash flow strength to increase their payouts.
Friday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Agilent, Boeing, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Meta Platforms, Micron Technology, Redfin, Salesforce, Trade Desk, Unity Software and Workday.
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