3 Hot Analyst Upgrades That Are Moving Stocks This Summer

Stock Market

The S&P 500 has continued to receive bullish forecasts from market analysts, including recent analyst upgrades. Some suggest the index could reach a target of 6,100 by the end of the year. The optimism is grounded in the index’s foundation of earnings growth, with additional support from favorable inflation news and expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

This “Goldilocks” scenario has reinforced the “new normal” for three years, indicating that inflation is cooling. Analysts project that this environment will support the S&P 500’s return to earnings growth, which is anticipated to accelerate in 2024 and 2025.

Analysts are raising their earnings estimates for the S&P 500, contributing to the index’s upward trajectory. The technology sector, particularly companies classified within the “Magnificent Seven,” continues to lead the market, buoyed by their involvement in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry. 

Wedbush analysts forecast a further 15% rise in the S&P 500, driven by the expanding applications of AI and a resultant broadening of the market for tech leaders. NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), recognized as enterprise AI industry frontrunners, along with Apple, are expected to capitalize on AI for revenue growth and margin expansion.

Key reports from Microsoft and other prominent tech companies are scheduled for mid-to-late July, while NVIDIA and semiconductor stocks will follow in August. These reports could propel the index to new highs and sustain a rally through the summer and beyond the technical target of 6,100, with Wedbush’s more optimistic target around 6,250.

PayPal (PYPL)

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PayPal’s (NASDAQ:PYPL) stock rating was raised from “Neutral” to “Positive” at Susquehanna following analyst upgrades. The upgrade reflects PayPal’s strategic focus on profitable growth, as outlined in its recent Annual Incentive Plan update for 2024.

PayPal is focusing on growing transaction margin dollars, a central part of its strategy. Susquehanna has highlighted several key initiatives. These include adopting better pricing discipline at Braintree, a PayPal service.

The company also plans to offer improved merchant services. This provides security, foreign exchange, and advertising through “PayPal Advanced Offers.” For consumers, PayPal aims to boost brand relevance. It will introduce stacked rewards with “PayPal CashPass” and smart receipts.

PayPal wants to grow its cross-border business with small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) through the PayPal Commerce Platform (PPCP). A new feature, “Fastlane,” aims to increase PayPal’s market share during the holiday season. Susquehanna’s analysis suggests that PayPal will perform better than expected. This includes TMDs and adjusted EBIT dollars in the coming years.

Apple (AAPL)

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Rosenblatt lifted its rating on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares from “Neutral” to “Buy,” accompanied by a significant increase in the price target to $260 from the previous $196, marking one of the notable analyst upgrades this period. This optimism stems from Apple’s strong long-term performance, surpassing the S&P 500 with a 60.79% increase over three years and a remarkable 340.19% gain over five years.

A recent survey in the United States highlights privacy in AI as a crucial demand among consumers. Analysts point out that Apple’s AI focuses on privacy more than Android. They believe this difference could boost Apple’s market share.

Brokers stand to gain from investments in larger cloud service providers. However, they face different cost pressures than these providers. Rosenblatt has increased its price target for Apple’s stock by $64, which shows that the firm expects Apple’s stock performance to improve.

Moreover, analysts have noted Apple’s strategy to incorporate privacy into its AI services. This strategy gives Apple a competitive advantage. It could lead to financial benefits for the company. This upgrade comes at a time when consumers prioritize AI and privacy in their technology choices.

SAP (SAP)

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BMO Capital Markets adjusted its stance on SAP AG (NYSE:SAP), elevating the stock from “Market Perform” to “Outperform” and increasing the price target to $237 from the previous $218. This change, part of recent analyst upgrades, reflects a more optimistic outlook on the software giant’s future performance.

The firm has updated its rating based on confidence in SAP’s future bookings and revenues. This confidence comes from SAP’s success in moving its large, steady customer base to the cloud.

In addition, BMO Capital’s analysts stress that SAP’s current cloud backlog and Cloud ERP growth are crucial for success. They have also raised the price target to $237. This change shows their expectation for SAP’s ongoing financial growth.

The analysts highlight that SAP is on track to hit significant financial goals. Specifically, they aim for €8 billion in free cash flow by fiscal year 2025. The positive view of SAP also connects to its strategic moves in the cloud sector. These moves should boost the stock’s performance.

On the date of publication, Shane Neagle did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

On the date of publication, the responsible editor did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

Shane Neagle is fascinated by the ways in which technology is poised to disrupt investing. He specializes in fundamental analysis and growth investing.

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