Wednesday’s Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Aflac, First Republic Bank, PDD, Range Resources, Starwood, VFC, Viking Therapeutics and More

The futures were trading higher after big tech earnings hit the tape after Tuesday’s close. All the major indexes finished the day sharply lower before the earnings were released for Alphabet and Microsoft, which both came in above expectations. While S&P 500 earnings have largely come in mixed and have not been the huge issue some feared, the real concern is turning to the debt ceiling issues, and the potential for the U.S. to run out of money sooner than expected. With the president and Speaker McCarthy at a stalemate on negotiations so far, every passing day ramps up investor concerns.

Treasury yields surged across the curve Tuesday, and some cited the Dallas Fed manufacturing index on Monday that came in at a nine-month low. In addition, with a 25-basis-point increase almost assured in early May, and the Federal Reserve still touting a “higher for longer” theme, investors are rushing to safe-haven investments. The two-year paper closed at 3.95%, a stunning 20% yield drop, while the 10-year benchmark note finished at 3.40%, with the inversion between the two remaining in place, but tightening.

Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude finished the day lower, and some in the energy complex pointed to the Supreme Court ruling in favor of anti-oil groups that want to sue big oil corporations at the state level. Natural gas finished the day flat after a solid run over the last week at $2.25.

Gold finished the day higher after a big opening run and is closing back in on the $2,000 level, while Bitcoin closed the day at $27,946, up 1.6%. After a huge run off the January lows, it is clear that profit-taking is the likely reason for the recent weakness for the cryptocurrency giant, but some buyers have returned, especially after the positive tech earnings after the bell.

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 Wednesday, April 26, 2023.

Aflac Inc. (NYSE: AFL): Wells Fargo started coverage with an Equal Weight rating and a $73 target price. The consensus target is $70.67, and Tuesday’s closing print was $65.76.

APi Group Corp. (NYSE: APG): Citing its valuation and price performance, Zacks named this industrial services provider as its Bull of the Day stock. Shares last closed at $21.96, and the $28.11 consensus price target would be a 52-week high.

Argenx S.E. (NASDAQ: ARGX): Citigroup initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $450 target price. The consensus target is $452.95. The final trade Tuesday was reported at $390.51.

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