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Stocks held solid gains in quiet trade early Monday as earnings season picks up with big banks due to report this week. Apple (AAPL) and McDonald’s (MCD) initially led the Dow Jones industrial average on analyst rating and price-target changes.
The Nasdaq composite rallied 0.5%, while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4% each. Volume was lower across the board in the stock market today vs. the same time in Thursday’s preholiday session.
Telecom services, metal ores miners and movie-related stocks led the upside, thanks to a 2% gain in Netflix (NFLX), which reports earnings after the close. Hospitals, automakers and drugmakers lagged.
Apple shares are just above a 141.12 four-weeks-tight follow-on entry and are well extended past a 118.12 cup-with-handle buy point cleared in January. RBC Capital maintained an outperform rating on the iPhone maker, boosted its price target to 157 from 155 and raised its 2018 EPS forecast by 9 cents a share to $9.67.
McDonald’s remains in buy range from a 130.10 handle entry. Wells Fargo upgraded the burger giant to outperform from market perform and lifted its price target to a 145-150 range from 125-130.
MoneyGram International (MGI) popped 8% after Alibaba Group‘s (BABA) Ant Financial unit sweetened its bid for the global payment service by 36% to $1.2 billion. Its prior offer was topped by Euronet Worldwide (EEFT). Alibaba advanced nearly 1%; Euronet was fractionally lower.
On the downside, Incyte (INCY) plunged 10% in massive volume, gapping down to undercut its 50-day line for the first time in over five months. The FDA on Friday failed to approve the biotech’s baricitinib rheumatoid arthritis drug, saying more clinical data are needed. Goldman lowered its Incyte price target to 136 from 149.
Partner Eli Lilly (LLY) gapped down and fell 4%, also breaching its 50-day line. BMO Capital downgraded the drugmaker to underperform from market perform, but Cowen raised its price target to 95 from 85.