Out on Wall Street, stocks are taking a breather from this month's rally. Despite encouraging updates on a potential coronavirus vaccine, disappointing unemployment data and a spike in coronavirus cases have spooked investors.
Not helping investor sentiment, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that schools would return to remote learning to mitigate the virus' spread.
"The market has really been in a celebratory mode since Election Day and rode through it again last week. I think the idea now is people are beginning to consider taking some profits ahead of expectations that taxes related to capital gains could rise in 2021. I also think there's the consideration of the transition in COVID to post-COVID... Even with the resurgence, all the vaccine news tells us [is] there is a post-COVID ahead," Oppenheimer's Chief Investment Strategist John Stoltzfus noted.
As plenty of question marks remain going forward, spotting stocks poised to outperform the broader market isn't easy. One approach is to take a cue from the analysts with a proven track record of success. TipRanks analyst forecasting service attempts to pinpoint Wall Street's best-performing analysts. These are the analysts with the highest success rate and average return per rating.
Here are the best-performing analysts' five favorite stocks right now:
In response to the promising data on Pfizer and Moderna's coronavirus vaccines, investors have shifted away from the pandemic beneficiaries such as Amazon. However, five-star analyst Laura Martin continues to take a bullish stance on the e-commerce and computing giant. To this end, she reiterated a Buy rating and $3,700 price target (19% upside potential) on November 18.
Following the vaccine news, Martin conducted a survey to gauge consumer shopping habits and upcoming plans. Surveying roughly 330 consumers, 80% of respondents stated they would shop the same or more online post-pandemic. "With AMZN being the e-commerce market share leader, we see it as the biggest beneficiary of this trend," she commented.
When Martin asked if their shopping habits would change when a vaccine becomes available, about 69% indicated they'd use Amazon the same as they did during the pandemic, which is when Amazon's demand spiked, while another 15% said they would shop on the site even more.
As for the upcoming holiday season, the analyst wanted to find out when consumers would do their shopping. Of those surveyed, 44% stated that 50%-100% of their holiday shopping had already been completed.
"In our view, Amazon's Prime Day in October pulled forward the shopping calendar. Given it had first mover advantage, we expect AMZN be the largest beneficiary of spending moving earlier on the calendar," Martin explained.
With a 66% success rate and 24.9% average return per rating, Martin scores the #67 position on TipRanks' list of best-performing analysts.
Five-star analyst Matthew Hedberg of RBC Capital upgraded software development company Bentley Systems to Buy from Hold on November 15. With the price target standing at $43, the analyst sees 26% upside potential.
The upgrade comes on the heels of an impressive performance in its first quarter as a publicly traded company. This combined with a pull-back since the middle of October makes the risk/reward profile much more attractive, in Hedberg's opinion, as shares now trade "closer to peers and a discount to premium peers such as Ansys and Autodesk."
During the quarter, Bentley generated revenue and EPS of $203 million and $0.17, respectively, versus the $197.3 million and $0.13 consensus estimates. Additionally, adjusted EBITDA landed at $73.6 million, handily beating the Street's $56.5 million call. Most noteworthy for Hedberg, though, was the 9% ARR growth, which exceeded his 8% projection.
Looking ahead, Bentley's guidance for CY20 also came in above the consensus estimate.
Hedberg added, "Overall, we think a vaccine could benefit Bentley, and a Biden presidency could boost U.S. infrastructure spending. Overall, we like the opportunity to own a long-term durable winner."
Landing a Top 25 spot on TipRanks' ranking, Hedberg boasts a 74% success rate and a 27.2% average return per rating.
On November 17, PDF Solutions announced that it will acquire Cimetrix, which is a software interface company for capital equipment that enables data collection from manufacturing tools. For top Northland Capital's Gus Richard, this deal reaffirms his bullish thesis, with the analyst reiterating a Buy rating the following day. Along with the call, he continues to assign a $30 price target, suggesting 43% upside potential.
As per the terms of the agreement, PDFS will pay $35 million in cash, net of cash on Cimetrix's balance sheet, with the deal set to close in Q4 2020.
The move is part of PDF Solutions' focus on accelerating its effort with equipment suppliers as Cimetrix provides a sales channel to the software development teams at equipment vendors, with the Cimetrix data serving as "the feedstock to PDFS's Exensio big data analytics platform," in Richard's opinion. PDF's platform has penetrated fabs, fabless and OSATs, but there's limited exposure to the equipment suppliers.
"PDFS/ Cimetrix together can allow equipment suppliers to collect operational data from equipment and use PDFS big data analytics platform and AI to analyze equipment operational, performance, and process control data. We believe working with PDFS/Cimetrix equipment suppliers will be able to improve process control, equipment uptime, and lower MTBF. The acquisition moves Exensio closer to become the de facto standard big data analytics platform for the semiconductor industry and expands the company into electronic manufacturing services, EMS, and display manufacturing," Richard opined.
Based on the analyst's estimates, the acquisition could be accretive in CY21, with it adding $0.02-$0.04 to earnings.
TipRanks shows that the #52-ranked analyst has an impressive 72% success rate and 28.2% average return per rating.
Cytokinetics, a biopharmaceutical company that develops muscle activators and muscle inhibitors as potential treatments for people with debilitating diseases which compromise muscle performance, just received a thumbs up from H.C. Wainwright's Joseph Pantginis. In addition to maintaining a Buy rating on November 16, he kept a $43 price target on the stock, implying 180% upside potential.
Pantginis tells clients that omecamtiv mecarbil, its selective cardiac myosin activator for the potential treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), "continues to hold promise for large pre-specified population."
In October, CYTK and its partners, Amgen and Servier, said that the therapy met the primary composite efficacy endpoint of reducing CV death or HF events, but not the secondary endpoint of reduction of CV death. That said, last week, Cytokinetics presented the results of GALACTIC-HF, the Phase 3 outcome study of omecamtiv, at AHA, demonstrating that the drug shows a potentially greater treatment effect in the pre-specified group of patients with more severe HF, represented by a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).
It should be noted that the "fate" of omecamtiv could be dependent on "Amgen's views on the drug, together with a complete analysis of the data and the results of a market research analysis centered around the views of physicians and payers," according to Pantginis. However, the analyst remains optimistic.
"While a deeper analysis is yet to be conducted and more details are needed to clarify omecamtiv's real opportunity in HF, we believe these findings suggest a possible path forward for omecamtiv's approval based on its applicability for the treatment of a defined, significant, population," Pantginis explained.
Pantginis is ranked #169 out of 7,093 analysts tracked by TipRanks.
For RBC analyst Shweta Khajuria, Yelp is one of her top stock picks right now. In a bullish signal, the five-star analyst bumped up the price target from $29 to $34 (7% upside potential), as well as reiterated a Buy rating on November 18.
Khajuria tells clients she had considered Yelp a "vaccine stock for several quarters now, and the case in point is the recent rally in the share price post Pfizer's vaccine announcement."
Expounding on this, the analyst stated, "While there is a lot of uncertainty between now and the actual distribution of the vaccine at scale, we believe that Yelp is well-positioned to benefit from the recovery, given the improving fundamentals we saw in Q3 and based on our belief that the snap-back in restaurants & bars, beauty & fitness, health, & shopping categories will be relatively fast as the economy opens up. That in addition to improving trends in Home & Local driven by product improvements and secular tailwinds."
In a post-coronavirus environment, Khajuria believes Yelp could benefit from the improving macro-economic environment as the economy opens up, given that ad spend is correlated to GDP growth. What's more, product changes that have been a key focus for the company over the last year and a half should bode well for Yelp, in the analyst's opinion.
"Management expects Yelp to drive greater benefits from the improvement in its value proposition to advertisers, both perceived and actual to take a greater share of Advertiser budgets," Khajuria added.
When it comes to its go-to-market strategy, although Yelp's local salesforce is down 45% year-over-year, management expects to keep its salesforce intact even post-coronavirus, which is a positive, according to Khajuria.
Khajuria is currently tracking an 89% success rate and an 80.3% average return per rating.