RBC Top Picks List for September Include Portfolio Changes

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Most of the firms that we cover daily here at 24/7 Wall St. constantly massage their list of top stocks picks for their institutional and high net worth clients, and with good reason. While constantly jumping in-and-out of stocks is typically a loser’s game, making changes to these lists makes good sense as sometimes valuations are rich or the overall theme has played out.

A new RBC research report highlights changes to the firm’s U.S. Equity Top Picks list. While actually made in late August, they have been posted for consumption now.

Regency Centers Corp. (NYSE: REG) is the new addition to the list. The top real estate company for investors to consider is a national owner, operator and developer of grocery-anchored and community shopping centers.

Regency Centers owns or has interest in (through joint ventures) about 330 shopping centers and single tenant properties. Including tenant-owned square footage, the portfolio encompasses almost 44 million square feet located in top markets throughout the United States.

A top real estate investment trust (REIT) was removed from the list. Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE: BXP) is a fully integrated, self-administered and self-managed REIT that develops, acquires, manages, operates and owns a portfolio of Class-A office buildings. The company is headquartered in Boston and operates a portfolio across five markets: Boston, Midtown Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, as well as Washington, D.C., and Princeton, New Jersey.

Regency Centers shareholders receive 3.28% dividend. The RBC price objective for the shares is $75, and the Wall Street consensus target is $72.50. The shares traded early Thursday at $65.02.

Investors in Boston Properties are paid a 2.5% distribution. RBC kept its Outperform rating, with a $140 price target. The consensus target is $132.95, and shares were last seen at $121.13.

In addition, here are three Top Picks List stocks with the biggest upside to the RBC price targets.

Air Lease

This transport leasing company could have huge upside for investors if the RBC team is right. Air Lease Corp. (NYSE: AL) engages in the purchase and leasing of commercial jet transport aircraft to airlines worldwide. It also sells aircraft from its operating lease portfolio to third parties, including other leasing companies, financial services companies and airlines. In addition, the company provides fleet management services to investors and owners of aircraft portfolios.

RBC cites the company’s industry leading upper teens potential return on equity, which is well above peers and most financial companies, and the lowest leverage in the sector, making debt coverage much easier. The firm also is very positive on the significant excess cash flow generation, which goes toward financing new aircraft and paying down borrowings.

The RBC price target is a gigantic $79, and the Wall Street consensus is just $46.92. The stock traded Thursday morning at $38.95, so trading to the target would be about a 95% gain.

Discover Financial Services

This top financial stock has very wide brand recognition. Discover Financial Services Inc. (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business.

The company also operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories.

Shareholders receive a 2.4% dividend. The $82 RBC price objective compares with the consensus price target of $72.95. The shares closed the day Wednesday at $58.60. Hitting the target would be a 40% or so gain.

Marathon Petroleum

This top refiner has been on a nice roll, but it still trades well below highs posted in late 2015. Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) recently was added to the Franchise Picks List, and it has a diversified business that operates through Refining & Marketing, Speedway and Pipeline Transportation segments.

The company owns and operates seven refineries in the Gulf Coast and Midwest regions of the United States, which refine crude oil and other feedstocks, and it distributes refined products through barges, terminals and trucks, as well as purchases ethanol and refined products for resale.

The company announced in January its plans to significantly accelerate its dropdown of assets with an estimated $1.4 billion of master limited partnership eligible annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization being transferred to MPLX. The analysts noted in a report:

The company decided recently not to spin off its Speedway business which has 2,730 locations, spread across 21 states. In 2017, Marathon plans to invest $380 million into Speedway, by building new stores and remodeling others, the company’s officials have said.

Speedway also has seen success with its customer loyalty program as its had 5.7 million Speedy Rewards members last year. This has led to consistent growth in merchandise sales, which is key as the money made just from gasoline sales is minimal, experts have said.

Marathon shareholders receive a 3.1% dividend. RBC has a $71 price target. The consensus target is $63.12, and shares were last seen at $52.40. Trading to the RBC target would be almost a 40% gain.

Some changes to the RBC Top Picks List, and also some ideas that are not only timely now with an expensive market, but also look to have great upside potential. All are suitable for growth accounts with a degree of risk tolerance.