It was a bumpy session in the stock market today. United States equities put together a strong session on Monday and opened higher again on Tuesday. However, stocks slipped in afternoon trading, with each major U.S. index closing lower. The most concerning was the Russell 2000, which fell about 1.3%.
Investors are still searching for direction, with many becoming unnerved in the fast action of the market. When you boil it down though, equities simply remain in a trading range.
Not in a channel? Precious metal.
Gold and silver continue to press higher, with both metals making multi-year highs on Tuesday. Specifically, gold futures hit a six-year high, while silver prices hit their highest levels in more than two years.
Given the macro environment right now, the momentum in the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEARCA:GLD) and the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) is no surprise. Recession worries are climbing, sending investors scrambling for safe-haven assets. Further, with the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates, the dollar should be pressured. A weak dollar is good for commodities.
Movers in the Stock Market Today
Yesterday we reported on some rumblings about possible merger talks between Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) and Altria (NYSE:MO). On Tuesday, the former confirmed that it is indeed the case. The talks are reportedly for an all-stock deal, provided both shareholder bases support it. The tricky part may be getting regulators to approve it, though.
After falling 4% on Monday, PM stock was down another 7.7% Tuesday. Altria initially jumped 8% on the news, but ended the day lower, down 4%.
BP (NYSE:BP) is up slightly, climbing 0.8% after selling its entire upstream and downstream business in Alaska. The company will sell the units — as well as its interests in Prudhoe Bay and the Trans Alaska Pipeline — to Hilcorp in a $5.6 billion deal. It’s part of BP’s effort to divest $10 billion worth of assets over the next two years.
Snap (NYSE:SNAP) stock fell almost 4% on Tuesday, with word that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is building an Instagram companion app called Threads. The hope is that users will find Threads helpful in communicating among a close group of people, sharing video, texts and photos, among other things. While it’s not out in the wild yet, investors fear (at least on Tuesday), that it could dent Snapchat’s usage.
Heard on the Street
There were plenty of notable analyst actions on Tuesday.
Analysts at SunTrust upped their price target on Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG). They bumped their target from $815 to $900, while maintaining a buy rating on the stock. It inspired investors to bid up CMG to new highs.
Rosenblatt analysts upped their price target on Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) to a whopping $481. That’s up big from the $395 target they assigned just a few months ago. The new Street-high target helped send SHOP stock to new all-time highs as well.
Both hitting new highs on the day, it’s no wonder SHOP and CMG both made the Top Stock Trades list.
Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has an outperform rating and a $9 price target on Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA). However, the analyst added the stock to his list of top picks, sending shares higher by more than 2% on Tuesday. Even after the rally, Pachter’s target still implies more than 50% upside.
Analysts at Craig-Hallum Capital upgraded Weight Watchers (NASDAQ:WW) to buy from hold, and the move helped kick-start a 1.9% rally in the share price as a result. The analyst also assigned a $35 price target, implying almost 20% upside from current levels.