More CPI Inflation More Problems: Analysts Upgrade or Downgrade Block, CSX, Merck and More

Markets bounced back on Wednesday after what was one of the worst trading sessions since June of 2020. The Nasdaq was leading the charge higher, up roughly 0.7%, while the Dow Jones and S&P 500 lagged, up 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively.

All this market carnage came after the consumer price Index (CPI) inflation print surprised investors and analysts across the board. Ultimately, analysts were expecting inflation to increase 8.1% year over year while it would actually decrease 0.1% on a month-over-month basis. However, CPI came in at 8.3% year over year and an increase of 0.1% month over month.

The CPI print was the catalyst for Tuesday’s market carnage, but it goes deeper than just the print. Effectively, what this reading means is that the Federal Reserve may have to hike interest rates even higher than expected or even move up its monetary tightening timeline. The more that the Fed hikes rates, the more that equities are going to hurt in the near term. Hence, Tuesday’s crash.

Here, 24/7 Wall St. is reviewing additional analyst calls seen on Wednesday. We have included the latest call on each stock, as well as a recent trading history and the consensus targets among analysts. Note that analyst calls seen earlier in the day were on Amgen, Dell, Dow, PayPal, Shopify, SoFi and more.

Block Inc. (NYSE: SQ): Evercore ISI downgraded the stock to Underperform from Outperform and slashed the $120 price target to $55. The shares traded near $66 on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $56.01 to $270.16.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY): Berenberg’s downgrade to Hold from Buy included a price target cut to $76 from $82. The shares traded near $70 on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $53.22 to $80.59.

Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX): BofA Securities resumed coverage with an Underperform rating and a $130 price target. Shares have traded as high as $186.86 in the past year but were near $143 on Wednesday, which is down about 17% year to date.

CSX Corp. (NASDAQ: CSX): Bernstein downgraded the shares from Outperform to Market Perform with a $32 price target. The 52-week trading range is $27.60 to $38.63. Shares changed hands near $30 apiece on Wednesday.

e.l.f. Beauty Inc. (NYSE: ELF): BofA Securities started coverage with a Buy rating and a $45 price target. Shares traded near $39 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $20.49 to $39.50.

Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY): Cowen initiated coverage with a Market Perform rating and a $238 price target. The stock was last seen trading near $222, in a 52-week range of $167.80 to $234.56.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB): BofA Securities resumed coverage with a Neutral rating and a $130 price target. On Wednesday, shares traded near $122, within the 52-week range of $117.32 to $145.79.

Match Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MTCH): Loop Capital downgraded the shares to Hold from Buy, and cut it the $70 price target to $60. Shares traded near $59 on Wednesday. The 52-week range is $53.19 to $182.00.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK): Berenberg lifted its Hold rating to Buy and raised its $95 price target to $100. Shares traded near $87 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $70.89 to $95.72.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT): KeyBanc Capital Markets initiated coverage with an Overweight rating and a $200 price target. The 52-week trading range is $137.16 to $268.98, and the share price was near $168 on Wednesday.


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