As incredible as it may seem, we are already into October, as the last quarter of 2016 is upon us. In a year that has shown some big volatility, the S&P 500 is up almost 6%, with much of that gain driven by bond proxy sectors like telecoms and utilities. With the presidential election clearly the biggest market-moving item facing investors, many of the top firms we cover on Wall Street are out with their top ideas for the final three months of the year.
A recent Merrill Lynch research report features the firm’s top 10 ideas for the fourth quarter. Eight are stocks to buy and two are expected to underperform and could be short sale candidates. Here we focus on the long ideas, and at first glance, they look like outstanding picks for growth stock accounts.
This top company printed an all-time high last November and has almost traded back to it, after being down to sideways for almost a year. American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT) is one of the largest global real estate investment trusts (REITs), as well as a leading independent owner, operator and developer of multi-tenant communications real estate with a portfolio of approximately 97,000 communications sites. It is on track to own and operate 100,000 cell towers by the end of 2015, in both U.S. and international operations. It is also reported that the company is already processing about 900 applications in its pipeline to add additional carriers to the newly acquired Verizon towers.
Shareholders receive a 2% distribution. The Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is $131. The Wall Street consensus target is $130. The shares closed Tuesday at $110.61.
This broadcasting-related stock could have big upside potential. Comcast Corp. (NYSE: CMCSA) is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings.
Comcast investors receive a 1.67% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $84. The consensus price objective is $75.70. Comcast closed trading on Tuesday at $65.83.
This company is expected to have a substantial portion of its total 2016 production in natural gas, and it also resides on the US 1 list. Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN) an independent energy company, primarily engages in the exploration, development and production of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in the United States and Canada. It operates approximately 19,000 wells. It also offers midstream energy services, including gathering, transmission, processing, fractionation and marketing to producers of natural gas, NGLs, crude oil and condensates through its natural gas pipelines, plants and treatment facilities.
Investors receive a 0.55% dividend. The $64 Merrill Lynch price target is well above the consensus target of $46.28. Devon closed Tuesday at $43.28.