Jefferies Makes First Big 2017 Change to Franchise List Portfolio

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Well its sure didn’t take long for the rating changes to start, and it should probably come as no surprise. Many of the top firms we cover here at 24/7 Wall St. are already tweaking their high conviction stocks lists for 2017, and many are trying to take into account macro changes that could make a difference this year. Changes could include higher inflation, a stronger dollar and rising interest rates. They are also trying to factor in positives like lower nominal tax rates and less of the ever burdensome regulations that some feel have stifled business.

A new Jefferies research report includes its first big change for 2017. The analysts removed leading consumer discretionary stock Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH) from the Franchise Picks list.

Coach is a leading New York design house of modern luxury accessories and lifestyle brands. The Coach brand was established in New York City in 1941 and has a rich heritage of pairing exceptional leathers and materials with innovative design. Coach is sold worldwide through Coach stores, select department and specialty stores, and through company’s website. In 2015, Coach acquired Stuart Weitzman, a global leader in designer footwear, sold in more than 70 countries.

The stock has been hit hard since printing highs back in the late summer. The analyst continues to like the stock and maintains the Buy rating, but it feels the company already has succeeded in turning around sales. Jefferies expects progress from here to be more gradual than in the past and sees more near-term catalysts in other consumer discretionary stocks.

Coach investors are paid a very solid 3.8% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $53, and the Wall Street consensus target is posted at $43.40. Shares closed Friday at 35.54 apiece, so there may indeed some value in the stock.

We also screened the Franchise Picks portfolio for the top telecom and technology companies and found three that look like outstanding stocks to pick up now.

Alphabet

The search giant continues to expand and is even working on a driverless car now. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) provides online advertising services in the United States, the United Kingdom and rest of the world. It offers performance and brand advertising services, and it operates through Google and Other Bets segments. The Google segment includes principal internet products, such as Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Apps, Cloud, Android, Chrome and Google Play, as well as technical infrastructure and newer efforts, such as virtual reality.

The Google segment also sells hardware products, comprising Chromecast, Chromebooks and Nexus. The Other Bets segment includes businesses such as Access/Google Fiber, Calico, Nest, Verily, GV, Google Capital, X and other initiatives.

The company reported quarterly earnings in October that topped analysts’ estimates and revenue that beat expectations, and it announced a more than $7 billion stock buyback plan. Google’s parent company posted third-quarter earnings per share of $9.06, adjusted, on revenue of $22.45 billion.

Jefferies has a whopping $1,000 price target for the stock, while the consensus target price is listed at $968.55. The shares closed last Friday at $824.21.