Stocks on Wall Street closed higher on Friday, entering the final quarter of 2021 in a buoyant mood. However, the benchmark S&P 500 index still suffered its worst weekly decline since February, falling 2.3%, as worries over the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans sapped investor risk appetite.
Between another batch of important economic data—including the latest U.S. employment report—as well as notable earnings from companies like PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP ), Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ ), and Levi Strauss (NYSE: LEVI ), the week ahead is expected to be an eventful one.
Regardless of which direction the market goes, below we highlight one stock likely to be in demand in the coming days and another which could see fresh losses.
Remember though, our timeframe is just for the week ahead.
Stock To Buy: General Motors
General Motors (NYSE: GM ) will be in focus as the world’s third-largest automaker hosts a highly anticipated investor day event on Wednesday, Oct. 6.
At the event, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra and other members of GM's leadership team will provide an overview of the company's ambitious long-term transformation growth strategy.
The presentations—which will be broadcast live on the GM website starting at 1:00PM ET—are expected to offer fresh details on the company’s electric vehicle (EV) roadmap, future manufacturing capabilities, and financial goals.
Management could also touch on plans to sell its autonomous driving software, as well as how the company intends to monetize its investment in self-driving ride-hailing company Cruise.
The event is expected to conclude at approximately 5:30PM ET.
The Detroit, Michigan-based automotive giant has thrived this year, with investors growing increasingly bullish on the vehicle maker as it seeks to shift away from gas and diesel cars and push into the high-flying EV sector.
By 2035, the U.S. auto giant aims to produce only electric vehicles, including 30 new plug-in models the company says will arrive by 2025.
GM stock, which has outperformed other notable names in the sector since the start of the year, such as Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ), Nio (NYSE: NIO ), and Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM ), ended at $53.13 on Friday, giving the company a market cap of roughly $77.1 billion.
Year-to-date, General Motors shares have climbed by 27.5%, easily outperforming the S&P 500’s 16% increase over the same timeframe.
Stock To Dump: Conagra Brands
Shares of Conagra Brands, formerly ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG ), are expected to suffer another volatile week as investors brace for disappointing financial results from one of America’s largest packaged-food companies.
The Chicago, Illinois-based corporation is scheduled to report fiscal first-quarter numbers before the U.S. market open on Thursday, Oct. 7.
Consensus estimates call for earnings per share (EPS) of $0.48, declining roughly 31% from EPS of $0.70 in the year-ago period. Revenue, meanwhile, is expected to fall around 6% year-over-year to $2.52 billion.
Perhaps of greater importance, Conagra’s outlook for the rest of the year and beyond will be in focus as it deals with the negative impact of higher ingredient costs and supply chain issues.
When the company reported fiscal Q4 earnings on July 13, management warned that higher commodity prices and shipping logjams will weigh on its full-year performance.
Investors sold the stock in response, sending shares lower by more than 5%.
The packaged-foods giant, which manufactures consumer food staples such as Slim Jim beef jerky and Duncan Hines cake mixes, has seen its shares lag the broader market this year, falling 7% in 2021.
CAG stock closed Friday’s session at $33.70, not far from a recent 52-week low of $32.26 reached in August. At current levels, Conagra has a market cap of $16.2 billion.
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