Hardware Stocks Rally After Analysts Upgrade Ratings

Written by: Lindsey Boycott

In the wake of all the market fear and loathing generated by global forces like Covid-19, analysts emerged from their offices to upgrade a bevy of stocks they felt had a bright future. Hardware-makers have been hit in recent weeks due to concerns about how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting the global supply chain.

Apple Upgraded from ‘Perform’ to ‘Outperform’

Oppenheimer’s analysts upgraded Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock from ‘perform’ to ‘outperform’ and gave the company a ringing endorsement in a recent call to investors: “Apple has mastered the art to turn technology into deeply personal and indispensable everyday objects from phones to Watch to AirPods. We believe Apple products and services will prove more resilient than competitive products in uncertain times. Apple’s strong balance sheet offers the company tremendous flexibility to keep the supply chain nimble as well as continuing to support its capital return plan.”

Western Digital Elevated to ‘Outperform’ from ‘Underperform’

The computer hard drive manufacturer made some significant headway with investors after getting a nod from Robert W. Baird early last week. The firm had been struggling with a 21 percent stock tumble amidst concerns about its ability to operate with threats to its supply chain. The brokerage is feeling optimistic about the data storage provider and set a $75.00 price target – up from an earlier target of $60.00. The updated target stock price represents a potential 31 percent jump from its previous close.

Analyst Patrick Ho from Stifel Financial (NYSE: SF) also updated Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) shares from ‘Hold’ to ‘Buy.’ In addition, Ho shared the investment bank’s new target price of $73.00 – up from $63. “While we clearly acknowledge that the current coronavirus situation could impact near-term estimates, we believe our fundamental outlook for 2020 remains intact,” he wrote in a research note made available earlier in March.

Cowen Moves Up Verizon from ‘Market Perform’ to ‘Outperform’

Equities research analysts at Cowen (NASDAQ: COWN) believe that Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is on its way up and rated the telecommunications firm as an 'Outperform' – changed from its earlier 'Market Perform' rating. It also bestowed a $61.00 price target for Verizon shares, a possible 9.5 percent uptick from the current price. But other analysts aren't feeling as positive about the mobile phone carrier, and ratings are mixed.

HSBC (NYSE: HSBC), for example, downgraded Verizon from a ‘buy’ to ‘hold’ rating back in November – the 'hold' sentiment was reiterated by both Moffett Nathanson in early January and in a Nomura research report issued in February. Meanwhile, New Street Research issued its own rating of 'buy' on Verizon's stocks in a paper given on January 10.  

Seagate Tech Updated from Neutral to Outperform

Baird gave Seagate (NASDAQ: STX) a reprieve from its 15 percent stock tumble by upgrading the data drive maker from ‘Neutral’ to ‘Outperform’. It’s been tough going for the memory maker but Baird’s analyst Tristan Gerra believes things are going to look up. “DRAM/NAND flash pricing positive outlooks remain unchanged despite current demand weakness in China,” he wrote. “We expect memory pricing to remain very resilient throughout this year.”

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