Signs of a potential slowdown in the jobs market are emerging and triggering worries about an impending recession, but investors would be wise to ignore the noise.
Instead, investors should keep an eye out for stocks with strong fundamentals and robust growth potential — two characteristics that can get them through a rocky patch for the market.
To that effect, here are five stocks chosen by Wall Street's top pros, according to TipRanks, a platform that ranks analysts based on their past performance.
Weakness in digital ad spending due to macro pressures has hit social media giant Meta Platforms (META) over the recent quarters. Nonetheless, the company is reducing its workforce, canceling lower-priority projects and curtailing non-headcount-related expenses to improve its profitability.
While Meta is calling 2023 the "Year of Efficiency," JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth says that the company is "building the critical muscle for financial discipline over the long term." (See Meta Platforms Financial Statements on TipRanks)
Anmuth expects Meta's revenue to return to double-digit growth in the second half of 2023 and 2024, fueled by several key drivers like artificial intelligence and product-driven improvements to the ad stack following the implementation of Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, the rise in the engagement and monetization of Reels, and the solid rise in click-to-message ads.
"While Meta shares have more than doubled off the early November lows, we still think there's meaningful upside ahead driven by accelerating revenue growth, continued cost efficiencies, and still attractive valuation," the analyst said.
Based on his bullish investment thesis, Anmuth raised his December 2023 price target for META stock to $270 from $225 and reiterated a buy rating. He is ranked No. 157 among the more than 8,300 analysts tracked by TipRanks. His ratings have been profitable 58% of the time, with each rating delivering an average return of 14.5%.
Next on our list is fintech firm SoFi Technologies (SOFI), which offers digital financial services to over 5.2 million members. SoFi recently announced the acquisition of fintech mortgage lender Wyndham Capital Mortgage. The acquisition is expected to drive SoFi's mortgage growth and operational efficiencies and broaden its mortgage product offerings.
Jefferies analyst John Hecht, who ranks No. 366 among more than 8,300 analysts tracked by TipRanks, expects the Wyndham acquisition to help SoFi accelerate its mortgage originations volume "at the same time as the SOFI bank continues to grow deposits at an accelerated pace of 7.3x in 2022." Note that SoFi's mortgage segment accounted for about 4% of total originations in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The analyst also highlighted that the Wyndham acquisition would "minimize" SoFi's dependence on third-party partners and processes, thus driving cost savings over the long term.
Hecht reiterated a buy rating on the stock with a price target of $8 saying, "We view the transaction favorably as it is strategic and will enhance SOFI's mortgage segment, while taking advantage of the current Fintech valuation environment as an opportunity to build into the next mtg. cycle."
Hecht has a success rate of 59%, and each of his ratings has returned an average of 9.2%. (See SoFi Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks)
Apparel company PVH (PVH), which owns popular brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, delivered better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022. The company is optimistic about the road ahead, supported by its PVH+ Plan, a multi-year direct-to-consumer and digitally-led growth strategy that aims to further strengthen the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands.
Guggenheim analyst Robert Drbul feels that the PVH+ Plan would drive favorable earnings revisions and multiple expansion. The analyst sees "an attractive risk reward profile" in PVH stock based on the company's earnings growth potential and current valuation.
"We believe in Tommy and Calvin brand strength globally and ongoing margin initiatives at the company, which we anticipate will position PVH favorably as the world continues to reopen and recover," the analyst said.
Drbul raised his price target for PVH stock to $110 from $105 and reiterated a buy rating based on the company's streamlining efforts, revenue growth potential, and margin expansion possibilities.
Drbul holds the 364th position among the more than 8,300 analysts followed by TipRanks. His ratings have been profitable 62% of the time, with each rating delivering an average return of 8%. (See PVH Stock Chart on TipRanks)
Drbul is also bullish on retail giant Walmart (WMT). After attending the company's investment community meeting in Tampa, Florida, the analyst reaffirmed a buy rating on Walmart with a price target of $165.
Drbul said that Walmart is well-positioned in the current retail backdrop and has one of the strongest leadership teams, referring mainly to its CEO Doug McMillon, whom he called "one of the best visionaries." Despite the ongoing uncertainty, Drbul expects WMT shares to touch new highs as the company continues to execute its growth strategy. (See Walmart Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks)
The analyst highlighted the significant progress that Walmart has made on the e-commerce front and its focus on technology. E-commerce now contributes to $82 billion or 14% of Walmart's overall sales, up from $25 billion or 5% of sales five years ago. Walmart sees an opportunity for its e-commerce business to reach $100 billion in the near future.
"Combining this meeting's top-line objectives and strategies, along with its relentless tech-enabled focus, Walmart is executing several initiatives that stand out as margin-enhancing, including the focus on automation, and its market fulfillment initiatives that further utilize technology and robotics," said Drbul.
Overall, he is upbeat about Walmart's long-term strategy, including its efforts to enhance the omnichannel shopping experience and build a more diversified profit base that's "led by a growing marketplace and fulfillment services, advertising, financial services, data monetization, and its healthcare offering."
Airbnb (ABNB), an online marketplace for short-term rentals, ended 2022 with market-beating fourth-quarter results. The company is benefiting from pent-up travel demand despite persistent macro pressures.
Recently, Tigress Financial Partners' analyst Ivan Feinseth increased his price target for ABNB stock to $185 from $160 and maintained a buy rating. The analyst acknowledged that the company continues to benefit from solid travel demand and the shift in consumer preference to "alternative, better-value accommodations."
"ABNB remains at the forefront of how consumers prefer to travel by offering a broad variance of accommodations from budget to extravagant and meeting the needs for a broad range of stay duration while benefiting significantly from ongoing hybrid work and travel trends," said Feinseth.
He expects a notable rise in Airbnb's return on capital over time, boosted by the booking fee income of its asset-light business model. The analyst listed several drivers of the company's future growth, including the ability to enhance capacity by adding new hosts, investment in new technologies, international expansion, cobranded buildings and growing partnerships with travel service providers.
Feinseth ranks No. 154 among the more than 8,300 analysts tracked by TipRanks. Additionally, 62% of his ratings have been profitable, with an average return of 12%. (See Airbnb Hedge Fund Trading Activity on TipRanks)