Monday’s Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Emerson Electric, Estee Lauder, KeyCorp, Palantir, ServiceNow, Snowflake, Truist Financial, Unity Software and More

The futures were trading lower on Monday, after a big reversal on Friday that saw the risk-off crowd return to take advantage of a massive rally on Thursday. The triple witching options and futures expirations on Friday helped to stir the mix in a big way. With corporate buyback windows closing, and risk sentiment getting a big test Friday, all eyes on Wall Street this week will turn to the Federal Reserve meeting and announcement on interest rates on Wednesday. While the futures predict Fed Chair Powell will not announce an increase, the inflation spike over the past month will obviously be front and center.

Treasury yields were up again across the curve as the sellers returned, and this could be that some bond traders have an inkling the Fed may indeed raise rates. The 10-year note finished the week at 4.32%, while the two-year paper was last seen at 5.04%. The 10-year minus two-year Treasury yield curve has been inverted for 313 trading days, the second longest inversion in history behind 1980. The inversion between the two widened some late last week, and many feel recession in 2024 remains possible.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude finished Friday flat, but not after the third consecutive week of gains for the major benchmarks, which were up 3%. Brent closed the day down modestly at $93.48, while WTI closed at $90.28, the highest level since November of last year. Natural gas finished Friday at $2.68, down 0.92%.

Gold had a solid Friday after the University of Michigan consumer sentiment data came in below expectations, falling to 67.7 from the August print of 69.5. The December contract closed on Friday at $1,949.90, up 0.88%. Bitcoin, which had a huge short-squeeze rally to lift the cryptocurrency last week dropped 0.90% on Friday to close at $26,293.60.

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, September 18, 2023.

AXIS Capital Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: AXS): When BofA Securities upgraded the shares to Buy from Underperform, its $53 target price rose to $68. The consensus target is $63.29. The stock closed 3% higher on Friday at $57.32.

Casella Waste Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CWST): Goldman Sachs initiated coverage with a Buy rating. Its $100 target price is the same as the consensus target. Friday’s closing share price was  $83.51.

CAVA Group Inc. (NYSE: CAV): Loop Capital started coverage with a Hold rating and a $40 target price. The consensus target is up at $51.00, but shares closed on Friday at $35.17.

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Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR): Vertical Research upgraded the stock to Buy from Hold and has a $120 target price. The consensus target is $107.43, and Friday’s close was at $98.77.

Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL): Redburn Atlantic upgraded the shares to Neutral from Underweight. Yet the analyst trimmed the $160 target price to $150. That compares with the $192.82 consensus target and Friday’s closing print of $156.42.

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY): Piper Sandler’s upgrade to Overweight from Neutral came with a target price bump to $13.65 from $12. The consensus target is $13.10. Friday’s close was at $11.72.

Keysight Technologies Inc. (NYSE: KEYS): Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock from Equal Weight to Overweight with a $165 price target. The consensus target is $166.12. The shares closed on Friday at $133.10.

KLA Corp. (NASDAQ: KLAC): Wolfe Research started coverage with an Outperform rating and a $600 target price. The consensus target is lower at $524.61. The stock closed almost 5% lower on Friday at $622.78.

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