Stock Market Update for Wednesday February 21st

Global Markets

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Stock Markets:

Canada’s primary stock index experienced a decline, mirroring the downward trajectory of crude oil prices.
Wall Street faced pressure, particularly with anticipation surrounding Nvidia’s earnings report, which could either dampen or fuel the ongoing AI-led rally.
European shares slipped due to disappointing earnings reports from companies like HSBC and JDE Peet’s, while investors awaited region-wide consumer confidence data.
Asian markets saw mixed performances, with Japan’s Nikkei finishing lower for the second consecutive day, while China’s shares rose as investors welcomed efforts by policymakers to boost market confidence and support the struggling property sector.

Currency and Commodities:

The U.S. dollar stabilized, while gold prices remained relatively unchanged as traders awaited the Federal Reserve’s minutes from its latest policy meeting for insights into the central bank’s rate outlook.
Crude oil prices experienced a downward trend, contributing to the decline in Canada’s stock index.

Global Top News:

Chipmaker Nvidia gained prominence on Wall Street, becoming the most traded stock by value, highlighting the increasing significance of AI-related investments to investors.
The U.S. announced plans to impose significant sanctions against Russia over various geopolitical issues, including the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
British businesses expressed more optimism about their profits and economic growth compared to the previous year, according to a survey by Boston Consulting Group.

European Company News:

HSBC Holdings reported record annual profits, although it fell short of analysts’ forecasts due to a substantial charge related to its stake in a Chinese bank.
Rio Tinto reported a decline in full-year underlying earnings, primarily attributed to lower contributions from its aluminum business amidst weaker prices.
Stellantis considered the possibility of manufacturing electric vehicles in collaboration with its Chinese affiliate Leapmotor, aiming to compete with Chinese EV makers in various markets.

Corporate Earnings:

Several companies across different sectors, including Caesars Entertainment, Celanese Corp, Chesapeake Energy Corp, CoStar Group Inc, Diamondback Energy Inc, HF Sinclair Corp, HSBC Holdings Plc, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc, Palo Alto Networks Inc, Realty Income Corp, Teladoc Health Inc, Ternium SA, and Wix.com Ltd, reported their quarterly earnings, with varying degrees of success and impact on their respective industries and markets.

Top Analyst Ratings:

Today’s analyst ratings include:

  1. Air Canada: TD Cowen raised the target price to C$34 from C$30 due to the company revising up its 2024 full-year profit guidance, citing attractive revenue opportunities and a healthy balance sheet.
  2. First Quantum Minerals Ltd: CIBC lowered the target price to C$14 from C$15 following the company’s fourth-quarter net loss announcement.
  3. iA Financial Corporation: National Bank of Canada decreased the target price to C$102 from C$104 after the company’s fourth-quarter earnings fell below expectations due to higher corporate expenses.
  4. Discover Financial Services: RBC increased the target price to $140 from $117 after the company’s acquisition by Capital One, aligning ratings between both companies.
  5. Home Depot Inc: Jefferies raised the target price to $412 from $365, anticipating benefits from outsized Pro customer spend in 2024.
  6. Medtronic Plc: TD Cowen raised the target price to $95 from $90 based on better-than-expected third-quarter results and a raised outlook for organic sales growth.
  7. Palo Alto Networks Inc: Bernstein lowered the target price to $335 from $402 after the company missed second-quarter earnings expectations and reduced guidance for 2024 full-year revenue growth.
  8. Walmart Inc: Piper Sandler increased the target price to $228 from $210, impressed by the company’s strong fourth-quarter results and its positioning for future share gains from continued price investment.

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