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The latest ASX 200 stocks to be upgraded to “buy” amid the recession

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declared that we are in a recession for the first time in 30 years! But this isn’t stopping our market from rallying or brokers from upgrading some S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index:^AXJO) stocks.

Australian GDP contracted 0.3% in the March quarter and we need two consecutive quarters of declines before officially going into a recession.

But with all the signs point to another negative number for the current quarter, Frydenberg isn’t waiting.

Recession can’t slow the rally

The news didn’t faze investors with the top 200 stock benchmark jumping 1.8% as we head to the close with most sectors trading in the black.

But it isn’t too late to join the party. In fact, top brokers have only just upgraded these ASX stocks to “buy”.

Electronic and whitegoods retailer JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) got bumped up to “outperform” by Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG).

This partly explains why the JB Hi-Fi share price jumped 2.5% to $39.78 in late afternoon trade.

Earnings upgrade candidate

The broker spoke with industry insiders and the feedback it got was that there was strong demand for electronics.

“Industry feedback suggests almost all categories in consumer electronics and home appliances are in growth and margins are the best they have been in a long time, with consumers far less picky on brands and happy to pay full ticket prices,” said the broker.

“We had originally expected additional COVID-19 costs would outweigh less promotional activity, but volumes are said to be high enough to compensate these.”

Macquarie thinks there’s a good chance JB Hi-Fi will unveil a pleasant surprise when it reports its full year profit result in August. The broker’s price target on the stock is $41 a share.

Re-rating opportunity

Another stock that got upgraded today by UBS is gold miner Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM).

Many ASX gold producers like Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) have been outperforming with the gold price, but Newcrest is lagging behind.

UBS thinks this isn’t justified and is urging investors to rotate into Newcrest, which it upgraded to “buy” from “neutral”. This is the first time the broker has rated Newcrest a buy since August 2012!

“We have changed our thesis on Newcrest based on our in-depth work on Red Chris and Havieron,” said the broker.

“The inclusion of these projects challenges market perceptions that production is peaking in 2020-21 which was also a component of our prior Sell thesis.

“These projects can materially change market estimates.”

UBS lifted its price target on Newcrest by 6% to $35 a share.

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Motley Fool contributor Brendon Lau owns shares of Evolution Mining Limited and Macquarie Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Macquarie Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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