Top 10 things to watch Thursday, March 23
1. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq look to rebound Thursday, one day after a sharp, late-session selloff. It was more about Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s abrupt 180 on deposit insurance than Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s post-interest rate hike press conference. You can’t fault Powell for wanting to be a little cautious due to uncertainty of how tight credit conditions have gotten from the recent banking turmoil.
2. Coinbase (COIN) shares sink nearly 15% early Thursday, the morning after the crypto exchange said it received a Wells Notice, a warning by the SEC of potential securities charges. This news, along with a recent White House economic analysis, in which the digital asset industry faced sharp criticism, prompts Oppenheimer to downgrade COIN to perform from outperform (hold from buy) and remove price target.
3. Jack Dorsey’s Block (SQ) sinks nearly 18% early Thursday after short-seller Hindenburg Research revealed a bet against the digital payments company. Hindenburg accuses Block, formerly known as Square, of facilitating fraud. Block was not immediately available to respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
4. Barclays flags refinancing risk in office REITs, downgrading SL Green Realty (SLG) to underweight (sell) and Boston Properties (BXP) o equal weight (hold). Adds trouble to a group that was already facing headwinds related to hybrid work and layoffs. Office REITs were covered on “Mad Money” on Wednesday, and we warned that the group can still get worse before it gets better.
5. Marathon Oil (MRO) and Club holding Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) catch upgrades at Citi. Both are added Top E&P pick list, which also includes Diamondback Energy (FANG) and EOG Resources (EOG). They like PXD for its rising well productivity in the second half of the year. Citi has a buy on Devon Energy (DVN) and a sell on Coterra Energy (CTRA), both Club stocks. On Monday, we bought some more PXD.
6. Club holding Ford (F) unveiled its new financial reporting structure ahead of Thursday’s teach-in event. Ford Model e (the EV business) lost about $2.1 billion in adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) in 2022, and management sees the loss rising to about $3 billion this year. Ford sees revenue minus certain variable costs of its first-generation EVs approaching break-even this year. But that’s expected to be more than offset by higher investments in new EV products and manufacturing as the company ramps up capacity. Ford reiterated its commitment to producing 600,000 EVs on a run-rate basis by the end of 2023, scaling up to 2 million by the end of 2026.
7. Club holding Apple (AAPL) increasing its commitment to sports and content? According to reports, the company plans to spend $1 billion a year to make movies that will be released in theaters; and the company is also considering bidding for streaming rights to some English Premier League soccer games. Apple already has Major League Soccer on its TV+ platform after inking a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal.
8. Nvidia (NVDA) price target increased to $300 per share from $270 at Needham, in response to this week’s GTC conference.
9. Coty (COTY) added to Piper Sandler’s top ideas in beauty after analysts performed a round of checks in stores in Chicago plus recent company updates. Piper switches in COTY for Club holding Estee Lauder (EL), which they continue to like for the long term due to recoveries in China and travel from Covid. They just see stronger near-term upside potential in COTY.
10. Darden Restaurants (DRI) slightly beats on revenues and margins, raising its full-year sales outlook. Same-restaurant sales increased 11.7%, led by Olive Garden up 12.3%.
(Jim Cramer’s Charitable Trust is long PXD, DVN, CTRA, F, AAPL, NVDA, EL. See here for a full list of the stocks.)
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