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Tuesday's Top Wall Street Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Colgate-Palmolive, Disney, Dollar General, Instacart, Netflix, Pfizer and More

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The futures traded lower after a strong start to the trading week. All the major indexes closed Monday’s session higher. Some strong numbers from the big money-center banks on Friday set the tone for this week. A deluge of earnings will hit, including results from Tesla and Netflix after Wednesday’s close. Headwinds for the market include the Hamas-Israel War, inflation making a comeback and the lagged effects of a year and a half of Federal Reserve tightening. Continued strong results like the financials posted last week would be a strong positive for the risk-on crowd.

Treasury yields were higher across the curve Monday. The sellers returned in force after a bullish flattening of the curve last week. Slow Treasury auctions and the Federal Reserve continuing to sell off its quantitative easing holdings were mentioned as factors in the selling. The 10-year note closed the day at 4.71%, while the 2-year paper closed at 5.10%. That kept the year-long inversion in place.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude took a breather Monday, after soaring nearly 6% last week. Both of the benchmarks finished the day lower. Brent closed down 1.06% at $90.33. WTI was last seen at $86.86, down 0.85%. The ongoing Middle East conflict will likely keep some support under the black gold, at least in the near term. In addition, natural gas closed down almost 4% as profit-taking was cited for the decline after a big run higher last week.

Gold was modestly lower, after climbing over 6% for its best week since March on safe-haven buying. Strategists cited profit-taking after last week’s big move. The December contract finished the day down 0.47% at $1,931.90. Furthermore, Bitcoin exploded higher by almost 5% to close at $28,477.50. Cryptocurrency analysts pointed to optimism over the potential for investors to finally see a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the coming months.

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 Tuesday, October 17, 2023.

The Upgrades

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP): Morgan Stanley’s upgrade to Equal Weight from Underweight included a target price boost to $144 from $118. The consensus target is $138.48, and the stock closed on Monday at $136.46.

Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL): Stifel upgraded the shares to Buy from Hold while trimming its $85 target price to $81. The consensus target is $82.18. Monday’s closing share price was $72.14.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG): The HSBC Securities upgrade was from Reduce to Hold with a $102 target price. The consensus target is up at $136.49. The stock closed almost 3% higher on Monday at $113.63.

D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI): Though Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to Buy from Neutral, its $132 target price slipped to $131. The consensus target is $141.22. Monday’s close was at $104.52.

Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE): J.P. Morgan’s Underweight has risen to Neutral. The firm’s $151 target price is less than the $160.50 consensus target and near Monday’s close at $149.15.

Pfizer Corp. (NYSE: PFE): Jefferies lifted its Hold rating to Buy and its $38 target price to $39. The consensus target is $44.10. The stock closed almost 4% higher on Monday at $33.26 due to the upgrade.

Southern Co. (NYSE: SO): Scotiabank’s upgrade was to Sector Outperform from Sector Perform and it has a $78 target price. The consensus target is $72.35. Monday’s close was at $67.49.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH): UBS upgraded the shares to Buy from Neutral. The analyst also raised the $520 target price to $640. The consensus target is $577.43. The shares closed on Monday at $538.02.

Varonis System Inc. (NASDAQ: VRNS): Morgan Stanley’s upgrade to Overweight from Equal Weight came with a target price hike to $39 from $34. The consensus target is $34.85. Monday’s $32.63 close was up almost 7% for the day, after the upgrade.

Wayfair Inc. (NYSE: W): Loop Capital upgraded the stock to Market Perform from Sell. Yet it dropped its target price to $50 from $60 as well. The consensus target is up at $89.31. The stock ended Monday trading at $47.78.

The Downgrades

Boise Cascade Co. (NYSE: BCC): BofA Securities downgraded the stock to Underperform from Neutral and has a $111 target price. The consensus target is $118.60. Monday’s close was at $94.05.

Crown Castle Inc. (NYSE: CCI): RBC Capital Markets downgraded the shares to Sector Perform from Outperform and lowered its $125 target price to $100. The consensus target is $117.94. Monday’s last trade was for $94.56 a share.

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI): When J.P. Morgan downgraded the shares to Underweight from Neutral, its target price shrank to $255 from $275. The consensus target is $258.08, and the stock closed Monday at $228.23.

Enphase Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: ENPH): BMO Capital Markets its Outperform rating to Market Perform and its $175 target price to $148. The consensus target is $186.09. Monday’s close was at $127.11.

KB Home (NYSE: KBH): The Goldman Sachs downgrade to Neutral from Buy included a target price cut to $48 from $54. The consensus target is $56.17. On Monday, shares closed at $43.91.

And More

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL): Morgan Stanley reiterated an Overweight rating but trimmed its $215 target price to $210. The consensus target is $199.56. Monday’s close was at $178.72.

Instacart (Maple Bear Inc.) (NASDAQ: CART): Stifel initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $48 target price. Citigroup also started coverage with a Buy rating, and its target is $34. Goldman Sachs began its coverage with a Buy rating and a $48 target price. The consensus target is $30.50 for now. Monday’s close was at $24.85.

Klaviyo Inc. (NASDAQ: KVYO): Truist Financial started their coverage with a Buy rating and a $42 target price. Needham also began coverage with a Buy rating, and its target is $40. Baird initiated coverage with a $40 target and an Outperform rating. A consensus target is not available yet. Monday’s closing share price was $31.52.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX): UBS reiterated a Buy rating but lowered its target price to $500 from $525. The consensus target is $458.63. The stock closed on Monday at $360.82.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS): UBS reiterated a Buy rating. However, its target price decreased to $110 from $122. That is still above the $105.62 consensus target. Shares closed on Monday at $85.72.

Five top companies that are Wall Street favorites are expected to raise their dividends this week.

Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included American Express, American Tower, Applied Materials, Block, Dollar General, Eversource Energy, Fortinet, Hecla Mining, JD.com, Progressive and TechnipFMC.

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