Wedbush Makes Big Changes to Best Ideas List for October

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With the third-quarter earnings reports ready to start rolling out fast and furious, many of the top analysts we follow on Wall Street are making some changes to the lists of their high-conviction stock picks for clients. With the market continuing to trade near all-time highs, it makes sense to examine the lists and make some changes as the rest of the year could have additional volatility as the political and world landscape looks to remain unsettled.

In a new research note, the analysts at Wedbush make a big move by swapping out a top biotech company and adding a financial short-sale idea. They noted this in the report:

We are removing Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc.(NASDAQ: LXRX) from Wedbush Best Idea List because recently, the main potential catalysts for 2017 have been announced and we do not see material announcements in the remainder of 2017, but look to 2018 for material U.S. regulatory catalysts. We are adding Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF) as an Underperform to the portfolio. We are not positioning the bank as an absolute “alpha-short”, but rather, our focus is its performance relative to its credit card peers and banks in the S&P 500 bank index.

Four additional companies on the list make good sense for growth stock investors looking for top fourth-quarter ideas. All are rated Outperform at Wedbush.

Activision Blizzard

This remains a top pick on Wall Street and Wedbush says to buy any dip now. Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) develops and publishes online, personal computer (PC), video game console, handheld, mobile and tablet games worldwide. It develops and publishes interactive entertainment software products through retail channels or digital downloads and downloadable content to a range of gamers.

The company reported outstanding results that the beat estimates and raised forward guidance. Top Wall Street analysts agree the company guidance is conservative and, with multiple game releases coming the rest of this year, the stock remains a top buy.

The key drivers for the company include the planned launches of “Call of Duty: WWII” (November 3 release date), for which management is already guiding to sales growth for the franchise in the fourth quarter, and “Destiny 2,” which is scheduled to debut September 8. Wall Street estimates are for 19 million full game unit sales for the former and 9.2 million for the latter.

Shareholders receive a 0.46% dividend. The Wedbush price target for the shares is $75, and the Wall Street consensus target is $70.04. The stock closed Monday at $63.39.

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. Wedbush has a $70 price objective, while the consensus target is $72.50. Shares closed on Monday at $65.16.

Royal Caribbean Cruises

This stock looks solid as many people continue to take expensive cruises. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) operates cruises under various brand names. The Royal Caribbean International brand provides cruise itineraries ranging from two to 24 nights, with options for onboard dining, entertainment and other onboard activities to various destinations.

The Celebrity Cruises brand offers cruise itineraries ranging from two to 18 nights to various destinations, and it operates onboard upscale ships that offer accommodations, fine dining, personalized services and spa facilities. The Azamara Club Cruises brand offers cruise itineraries ranging from three to 20 nights that serve the upmarket segment of the North American, the United Kingdom and Australian markets.

The Pullmantur brand provides cruise itineraries ranging from two to 15 nights, with food and entertainment options for families and couples. The CDF Croisières de France brand offers seasonal itineraries to the Mediterranean, Europe and Caribbean markets. The TUI Cruises brand provides onboard activities, services, shore excursions and menu offerings for the German cruise market.

Shareholders receive a 2.01% dividend. The $129 Wedbush price target is about the same as the consensus target of $129.28. The shares closed Monday at $119.12.

Zynga

This very aggressive tech play could have upside beyond the Wedbush target. Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is a leading developer of mobile and social games. In the company’s relatively short history, it has developed a broad portfolio of games that includes several games on Facebook and several top-grossing mobile apps. Key franchises include FarmVille, Zynga Poker, Hit It Rich Slots and Words With Friends.

The company’s second-quarter results in August were highlighted by increased daily active users and monthly unique payers on stronger live services engagement. With live events growing revenues, cost cutting should drive margin expansion, which is very positive. The company also pops up in takeover chatter, and the low price makes it even more attractive.

Wedbush has set its price target at $4.65. The consensus target is $4.20, and shares closed most recently at $3.84.

These stocks from the Best Ideas List at Wedbush offer varying degrees of risk and upside. The fact that they are not crowded momentum plays makes them far more attractive for the rest of 2017 and into next year.