Stock Market Today: Impeachment Shrug; Buy MSFT, AAPL? 

Stock Market

Either the market doesn’t really care or it’s not expecting a big disruption in the White House. Stocks were relatively stable in the stock market today — working off some light selling from the morning and rallying slightly in the afternoon — despite House Democrats pushing forward with the impeachment process.

If there were serious impeachment risks at this stage of the game, one would think the market would begin discounting stock prices in anticipation of such an event. We’ll see how the story develops over time, but so far, it’s getting a big shrug from the stock market.

The bigger concern — at least in the immediate future — is the non-farm payrolls report for November. Due up before the open on Friday, investors will want to see the latest employment results to get a read on the economy.

While the report won’t be as important as some of the more recent readings as it relates to the Federal Reserve’s rate policy, investors will want to gauge how the jobs and wages situation is gearing up as we head into the holidays. Better-than-expected data could give a boost to retail and consumer-sensitive stocks.

Heard on the Street

There were a lot of big analyst calls today. Too many to ignore, in fact.

Citi upgraded Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to “buy” and raised their price target from $250 to $300. The analysts are bullish on iPhone sales this holiday season.

Baird maintains a “neutral” rating on Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), but gave a notable boost to their price target. They moved from $30 up to $40 based on revenue growth potential.

Bernstein raised Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) price target from $167 to $174 on the potential of Azure. The cloud business is the main reason for their “outperform” rating on Microsoft.

Goldman Sachs upgraded Nike (NYSE:NKE) from “neutral” to “buy” and added the stock to their Conviction List. They are using a $112 price target, implying almost 18% upside to Thursday’s closing price.

Goldman Sachs didn’t stop there, bumping Yeti Holdings (NYSE:YETI) to a “buy” rating and assigning a $37 price target. That implies about 15% upside to the stock’s closing price on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley raised Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) to an “overweight” rating and assigned a price target of $30. The move kickstarted a near-6% rally in the stock on Thursday.

HSBC rated Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) as “reduce,” hitting the stock with a price target of $178. The move comes just after Piper Jaffray analysts assigned a $230 price target to FB.

Movers in the Stock Market Today

The anticipated step down of Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL), is officially happening in May of next year. Munoz will be handing the reins down to President Scott Kirby. Munoz will be transitioning into the role of executive chairman of the board of directors. United Airlines was down fractionally today.

OPEC is talking about some pretty large production cuts in the future. News of a potentially larger-than-expected 500,000 barrels per-day cut, compared to the originally anticipated 400,000 barrels per day, had crude oil climbing another 1% Thursday, after Wednesday’s near-5% jump. For now, plans are to keep production near 1.2 million barrels per day through June 2020.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) and LG Chem have come together with a hefty joint investment of $2.3 billion to produce battery cells for upcoming electric vehicles. The new manufacturing plant will be based in Ohio and construction is expected to begin in mid-2020. This equally owned joint venture will create more than 1,100 jobs.

Bret Kenwell is the manager and author of Future Blue Chips and is on Twitter @BretKenwell. As of this writing, Bret Kenwell is long AAPL.

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