Thursday’s Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AIG, Alcoa, Coinbase, Home Depot, Merck, Nvidia, Palo Alto Networks, Occidental Petroleum, Salesforce, Shopify, Sirius XM, Target and More

The futures were trading higher Thursday, after a bounce-back day across Wall Street turned negative after the FOMC minutes hit the tape. When it was all said and done, the major indexes ended mixed, with the Nasdaq and the small-cap Russell 2000 posting small gains on the day while the Dow Jones industrials and the S&P 500 closed lower. The minutes indicated that some of the officials felt that the recent easing of financial conditions could keep the need for tighter economic policy firmly in place, so ultimately that signals more rate hikes are in order. All eyes are focused now on the inflation numbers due out Friday.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index is known for capturing inflation (or deflation) across a wide range of consumer expenses and reflecting changes in consumer behavior. Analysts are looking for an increase of 0.5%. Anything much higher (or lower) could cause a shift in market sentiment. This is one of the most closely watched data points that Federal Reserve Chair Powell looks at.

Treasury yields were lower across the board after spiking higher on Tuesday. The long-standing inversion between the two-year and 10-year notes continues to signal that a recession is headed our way. The 10-year closed Wednesday at 3.91%, while the short paper finished at 4.67% after topping 4.70% on Tuesday and hitting the highest level since 2007.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude took it on the chin Wednesday, as the major benchmarks finished the day down 2.44% and 2.66%, respectively. That move lower came on the heels of Morgan Stanley predicting global oil demand in 2023 could increase by 36%, citing China’s economic and demand rebound and an increase in air travel. Gold finished the day modestly lower, while Bitcoin was hammered, closing down over 3% at $23,618.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week 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 Thursday, February 23, 2023.

Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA): Citigroup upgraded the aluminum giant’s shares to Buy from Neutral and lifted its $55 target price to $65. The consensus target is $55.64, and shares closed on Wednesday at $48.98.

American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG): The Atlantic Equities downgrade of the insurance heavyweight was to Neutral from Overweight. The analyst also trimmed the $70 target price to $65, well below the $71.71 consensus target. The last trade Wednesday was for $60.67 a share.

ALSO READ: Top Analysts Pound the Table Now on 5 ‘Strong Buy’ Stocks Yielding 7% or More

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: BCRX): Needham upgraded the stock from Hold to Buy with a $14 target price. The consensus target is up at $16.30. The stock closed 13% higher on Wednesday at $9.77, after solid revenues were posted and on the upgrade.

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