U.S. markets ended the month of November on a sour note Monday, as investors digested holiday weekend sales figures and kept a wary eye on Federal Reserve comments to come later on this week.
In economic news, the Chicago Purchasing Manager Index reading was 48.7, down sharply from 56.2 in October and now in contraction territory. In addition, the National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales were up 0.2%, but Wall Street was expecting a 1% increase.
The S&P 500 led the declines with a 0.5% drop, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq gave back 0.4%. Still, a few stocks pushed back against the weakness. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) were the darlings of some analysts’ comments, while Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI) was enjoying more love from last week’s bullishness.
Here’s a closer look at each of these hot stocks from Monday:
Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)
MSFT stock was up roughly 2% for most of the day before tapering off after receiving an analyst upgrade and announcing some new features from its Office 365 service.
Raymond James analysts upgraded Microsoft shares from “market perform” to “strong buy,” with a $72 price target on MSFT stock. That would be a roughly 30% jump from current prices above $54.
With a price tag of $35 a month, Microsoft’s business edition of Office 365 will now offer unlimited conferencing, Skype for Business and other features. It was four years ago that MSFT bought Skype for $8.5 billion.
Fitbit Inc (FIT)
FIT was another winner today after reports that sales on wearable fitness trackers was brisk over the holiday weekend. Target said the Fitbit Charge HR was one of its best-selling gift items. Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) said sales of the FIT wearables were about two times what they were a year ago.
Adding to the bullish tone were a couple of analysts notes. For one, Credit Suisse says Fitbit has 116% upside. Meanwhile, Barclays analyst Matthew McClintock, who upgraded FIT stock from “equal weight” to “overweight,” adding that there was no justification for FIT stock’s recent decline.
FIT stock rose 3% on the day.
Baker Hughes Incorporated (BHI)
Although there was no fresh news on BHI stock today, the oil rigger was up more than 2% as a carry-over trade from just before the holiday weekend. On Wednesday of last week, Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) announced it will do “whatever is necessary” for antitrust authorities to approve its $34.6 billion acquisition of Baker Hughes, including the disposal of $7.5 billion worth of additional assets that regulators will require.
Hedge fund ValueAct Capital Partners, L.P. penned a letter to clients saying that after discussions with both HAL and BHI, it feels certain that the deal is still on track and will close on time.
BHI stock, which has been languishing lately, closed above its 50-day moving average again today for the first time in a month.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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