Blue chip stocks are highly valued shares of large, well-established, and financially sound companies. They are called blue chips because they are considered some of the safest and most reliable investments in the stock market. Blue chip stocks tend to be less volatile than other stocks, and they often offer high dividend yields.

For these reasons, blue chips are often favored by conservative investors who are looking for stability and income. While they may not offer the same growth potential as other stocks, top blue chip stocks are an excellent choice for risk-averse investors who are looking for stability and consistent returns. If you’re now keen on researching blue-chip stocks to buy [or avoid] now, here are four to watch in the stock market today.

Blue Chip Stocks To Buy [Or Avoid] Today

1. AutoZone (AZO)

First up, AutoZone Inc. (AZO) is one of the largest retailers and distributors of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. Specifically, the company sells items like automotive replacement parts, chemicals, tools, equipment, and accessories through its AutoZone stores and AutoZone Online. As of today, AutoZone operates over 6,100 retail locations throughout the United States.

AutoZone (AZO) Recent Stock News

On Monday of this week, AutoZone reported a beat for its fourth quarter 2022 financial results. In the report, AutoZone reported Q4 2022 earnings per share of $40.41 per share, with a revenue of 5.3 billion. This came in better than analysts estimated for the quarter, which was earnings of $38.38 per share, and revenue of $5.2 billion. In addition, the company posted a revenue increase of 8.9% during the same period, in 2021.

Bill Rhodes, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer said this in his letter to shareholders, “Our results are a testament to our AutoZoners’ ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional customer service every day.  Our retail business performed well this quarter ending with positive same-store sales on top of last year’s strong performance.  And, our commercial business growth continued to be exceptionally strong at 22%. The investments we have made in both inventory availability and technology are enhancing our competitive positioning.  We are optimistic about our growth prospects heading into our new fiscal year.

Aside from this, today brokerages like Citigroup (NYSE: C), and Jeffries Financial Group (NYSE: JEF) raised their price targets on AutoZone stock. In detail, Citigroup increased its price target on AZO stock from $2,250 per share to $2,520 per share. Meanwhile, Jeffries also raised their price target from $2,350 to $2,450 per share.

AutoZone (AZO) Stock Chart

As of Tuesday mid-morning, shares of AZO stock are up over 1% at $2,120.12 a share. Given its strong quarter, and the street’s reaction, do you think now is a good time to add AutoZone to your watchlist?

AutoZone stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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2. Apple (AAPL)

Next up, we have consumer tech giant Apple, Inc. (AAPL). This company needs little to no introduction for most, but if you are unfamiliar here’s a brief introduction. Apple is an American multinational technology company. The company designs develop and sell consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. Most notably, a few of Apple’s most popular products are items like the iPhone smartphone, the iPad tablet computer, the Mac personal computer, the Apple Watch smartwatch, and many others.

Apple (AAPL) Recent Stock News

Earlier this month, Apple announced its new product line-up to investors. Specifically, the company announced it will be rolling out a new iPhone® 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. In detail, this new iPhone will include additional features such as an Always-On display, and the first-ever 48MP camera on an iPhone, among others. In addition to that, Apple also announced they will be introducing the new Apple Watch® Series 8 and the new Apple Watch SE®.

Additionally, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, commented, “Our customers count on their iPhone every day, and with iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, we’re delivering more advancements than any other iPhone. iPhone 14 Pro introduces a camera system that empowers every user — from the casual user to the professional — to take their best photos and video, and innovative new technologies like the Always-On display and the Dynamic Island, which offers new interactions for notifications and activities.

Continuing on, just on Tuesday Evercore ISI (NYSE: EVR) reported an outperform rating on Apple. As well as, the brokerage raised its price target on AAPL stock from $185 per share to $190 per share.

Apple (AAPL) Stock Chart

Meanwhile, year-to-date shares of Apple stock are down approximately 13.79% as of Tuesday’s lunchtime session at $156.77 per share. Given Apple’s track record and their new product lineup, is now a good time to add Apple stock to your long-term portfolio?

AAPL stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

3. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH)

After that, let’s move toward cruise line company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH). In brief, Norwegian Cruise Line is the third-largest cruise company in terms of berths globally. For a sense of scale, the company has more than 62,000 berths and operates 29 ships. Moreover, Norwegian Cruise Line operates under three brands, which are Norwegian, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas. As of May 2022, the company has announced they have redeployed its whole fleet. The company has redeployed its entire fleet as of May 2022.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) Recent Stock News

Last month, the company announced its Q2 2022 financial results. In detail, the company reported a second-quarter loss of $1.22 per share, with revenue of $1.2 billion. Meanwhile, analysts’ estimates for Q2 2022 were a loss of $0.87 per share and revenue of $1.3 billion. Additionally, the company closed out the 2nd quarter with $1.9 billion in cash equivalents. This signifies a significant improvement compared to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, NCLH reported a 27,079.1% revenue increase on a year-over-year basis.

Frank Del Rio, President & CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said this about the quarter, “We are encouraged by the continued strong consumer demand we are experiencing which is reflected in our record pricing, accelerating booking volumes, especially for 2023 and beyond, and highest ever onboard revenue generation. Having emerged from the pandemic and returning to more normal operations, we remain steadfast in our strategy and commitment to protect our brands’ positioning and industry-leading pricing, which we firmly believe is the best way to maximize long-term value for all our stakeholders.

On Tuesday, the company received an upgrade from hold to buy from Truist Financial (NYSE: TFC). The brokerage raised its price target on NCLH stock from $18 to $19 per share, representing a 23.94% upside.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) Stock Chart

Since the start of 2022, NCLH stock has fallen by over 30% at $15.45 per share as of Tuesday afternoon’s trading session. However, over the last month of trading action, shares of Norwegian Cruise Line stock have recovered by approximately 23.11%. All in all, do you think now is a good time to invest in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings?

NCLH stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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4. Humana (HUM)

Last but not least, Humana Inc. (HUM) is one of the largest health insurance companies in the world. In detail, the company offers a variety of health plans, including individual and family plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid plans. Humana also provides a wide range of other services, such as pharmacy benefits management, dental coverage, and vision care. For a sense of scale, Humana currently has over 20 million customers in the United States.

Humana (HUM) Recent Stock News

Last week Thursday, Humana announced mid-term adjusted earnings per share target of $37 in 2025. Meanwhile, the company also raised its full-year 2022 EPS outlook to approximately $25 per share at its most recent investor day. This would represent a 14% compounded yearly growth rate above Humana’s updated full-year 2022 EPS guidance.

What’s more, Bruce D. Broussard, Humana’s President and Chief Executive Officer at Humana had this to say in his release to shareholders, “We are confident in our ability to deliver compelling, sustainable earnings growth, both in the near and longer-term which will continue to drive shareholder value. Our strong competitive positioning and unique capabilities in the highly attractive individual Medicare Advantage market, coupled with the opportunity to scale and further integrate our CenterWell healthcare services capabilities, positions us for durable leadership in the value-based care industry.

On Tuesday, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) upgraded HUM stock from equal weight to overweight. They also raised their price target from $494 per share to $549 per share.

Humana (HUM) Stock Chart

So far in 2022, Humana has outperformed the broader market as shares are up over 8% year-to-date. On Tuesday’s early afternoon trading session, HUM stock is trading up another 1% at $506.07 per share. With this update, will you be adding Humana stock to your list of stocks to watch today?

HUM stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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