U.S. markets faltered on the last day of August as investors continued to be concerned about events in China and any economic news, such as this Friday’s job report, that will affect the Fed’s decision on interest rates.
There are reports that China has arrested some 200 people, including well-known executives in the financial industry, for alleged online rumor-mongering, and has blamed them for the Chinese stock market collapse. At least 165 online accounts have been shut down for various related violations. This does not fill investors with a lot of confidence in the Chinese market.
Oil markets were lower in the morning, but sharply reversed course after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said that members are concerned about the drop of oil prices and are ready to talk to other producers. Crude oil finished the day more than 8% higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.7%, while the S&P 500 was down 0.8%, and the Nasdaq lost 1%. Most sectors were losers today, but energy was showing strength.
Analyst upgrades often help stocks that have fallen on hard times, and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP) were proof of that today. Those two, along with The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO), are three of today’s best stocks.
Twitter Inc (TWTR)
TWTR stock was more than 3% higher today after Robert Peck, an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, upgraded it from “neutral” to “buy.”
Reasons given for the upgrade include a more attractive valuation at current prices and several recent partnerships with other companies that Twitter has developed. In addition, SunTrust cited the fact that company co-founder and Director Jack Dorsey purchased over 31,000 shares of TWTR stock a few weeks ago, for a total buy near $875,000.
TWTR stock is currently trading well below its original IPO price of $45.10.
J C Penney Company Inc (JCP)
JCP stock was also nearly 2% higher following an analyst upgrade to “buy” from “hold” by analyst Paul Trussell of Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB), who also raised the company’s price target from $10 to $12.
JCP recently received an upgrade on its Issuer Default Rating from “CCC” to “B-” by Fitch Ratings. The number of hedge funds that own JCP stock has also been rising lately, contributing to a more positive outlook on the stock.
The Medicines Company (MDCO)
MDCO stock blistered higher by 21% after The Medicines Company and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY), co-jointly announced positive initial results of a new cholesterol drug on which they’ve been collaborating. MDCO is a company that supplies medicines to hospital patients in acute and intensive care.
The drug, ALN-PCSsc, was able to lower LDL-C, the so called “bad” cholesterol, by as much as 83% in a phase-1 study. A mid-stage study is now being planned by the two companies, as well as late-stage trials by the end of 2017. As a result, analysts are saying that MDCO could see sales up to $1.6 billion this year, well ahead of last year’s $724 million.
Only three days ago, a new cholesterol drug, Repatha, developed by Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) received FDA approval, but the new MDCO drug will supposedly achieve similar results with fewer injections needed.
Shares of ALNY were initially up over 6%, but reversed course to finish more than 5% lower. Shares of AMGN were down over 2%.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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