In a week that is marked by the unofficial start of the third quarter earnings season among U.S. stocks, it is interesting to see that big stocks are being moved by analyst calls. Who needs to wait for actual numbers?
We mentioned earlier that Microsoft Corp. fell in early trading on Monday after a downgrade by Goldman Sachs. Now we learn (via Stocks To Watch Today) that Ford Motor Co. is on the move after an analyst at Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of the stock with an "overweight" rating and a 12-month price target of $20 (U.S.) - the most bullish target on the stock.
The analyst's bullish take appears related to mostly improved credit markets, which should drive auto sales - along with Ford's revenues and earnings - higher than expected by Wall Street.
Although Ford's share price has slumped from its high in the spring, it is certainly no slouch over the longer term. Year-to-date, the shares have risen more than 28 per cent, and they are up nearly 88 per cent over the past 12 months as investors pile into the one U.S-based car company that managed to survive the recession without a government bailout.