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5 Surprises Top Wall Street Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades

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The futures traded lower as we kick off trading in 2024, after a remarkable 2023. The Nasdaq explode higher, closing up a massive 44. 77%, while the S&P 500 finished up 24.8%, and the venerable Dow Jones industrials posted a solid 13.75% gain. While the major indices closed lower last Friday to round out the 2023 trading year, investors are in much better shape than at the end of 2022. Across Wall Street, most economists and top strategists see the potential for a much slower 2024 and the possibility for some big sell-offs after the significant 2023 gains.

Bonds

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Treasury yields closed mixed across the curve after a big rally in the government debt last Thursday. The longer maturities were slightly lower, while the shorter and intermediate bonds finished the session modestly higher. The 10-year note finished the year at a 3.87% yield after trading as high as 5% in late October, while the short two-year paper finished at 4.25%. History tells us that an inversion in the yield of the two indicates a potential for recession in 2024.

Commodities

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Threats to Red Sea shipping sending crude prices higher.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude finished 2023 lower on the day, after a wild year for the black gold as prices were all over the place. The fears over the shipping lane attacks on cargo ships have subsided somewhat after a military presence by the United States and other countries opened the Red Sea passage route. Natural gas was down 2.39% to end the year at $2.50.

Gold closed the year out with the February contract down 0.50% at $2,073, after a stellar year for the bullion, which finished up a solid 13.28% and printed an all-time high earlier in December at $2,150. Bitcoin, which also had a tremendous year, closed on Friday at $41,901.50, down 1.61%. The cryptocurrency giant rallied a remarkable 150% in 2023.

Here are the top Wall Street analyst upgrades and downgrades on January 2, 2024.

Upgrades

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Here are a few of several analyst upgrades reported Tuesday morning.

Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC) from Equal Weight to Overweight, and the price target raised from $82 to $90, at Wells Fargo.

Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ: EXAS) from Hold to Buy with a price target of $91 at Benchmark.

Expedia Group Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) from Underweight to Equal Weight at Wells Fargo, which also raised its $91 price target to $159.

Huntington Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: HBAN) from Underweight to Equal Weight, and the price target increased from $12 to $15, at Barclays.

Downgrades

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) from Equal Weight to Underweight, with the price target lowered from $161 to $160, at Barclays.

Other Calls

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Boeing is among the stocks dropped from Goldman’s Conviction Buy List.

American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) was removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.

Bath & Body Works Inc. (NYSE: BBWI) was removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) was removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.

Shift4 Payments Inc. (NYSE: FOUR) also was removed from the Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs.

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