The equity analysts and strategists at UBS A.G. (NYSE: UBS) expect to see U.S. equities continue to conform largely to the “1994 Playbook” in which stocks meander higher after correcting in response to a Federal Reserve induced interest rate shock that does not derail growth or employment prospects. They also see the inevitable “bumps” along the way and expect this pattern to persist through the summer. They also point out that one difference about the current leg of the rally that began on June 24 is that it is both more and less selective than recent quarters.
In their new report on a “market of stocks,” the UBS analysts pinpoint five top names to buy that they expect will beat current earnings estimates and increase the likelihood those shares can outperform into and beyond report release dates. They also highlight three names they expect to miss earnings.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) tops the UBS list of stocks to buy that can beat estimates. The analysts are above consensus on total revenues and earnings per share (EPS) largely driven by one of its top drug Epogen. They point out that the prescription data for Enbrel and Prolia should also outperform. The UBS price target for this biopharmaceutical giant is $121. The Thomson/First Call estimate is at $115. Investors are paid a 1.8% dividend.
CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) also is expected to beat earnings targets and is one of the top stocks to buy at UBS. The outlook for cable network advertising growth should remain strong in the third quarter as pricing is firm and early demand solid. In an environment with a beat-and-raise scenario likely, UBS continues to think the positive thesis on media remains intact. Their price target for the stock is $54, while the consensus target is at $52. Investors are paid a 0.9% dividend.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is an energy name that may be poised to pound estimates. The combination of EOG’s strong all-around operational results, the large first-quarter earnings beat, expectations of a second-quarter earnings per share (EPS) beat and superior debt adjusted growth relative to the peers should enable EOG to recapture some of the higher multiples lost in the last 18 months. The UBS price target for the stock is $160. The consensus target is $155. Shareholders are paid a 0.5% dividend.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) has been on fire with wildly popular new car models and the top truck based on sales in the United States. With the company firing on all cylinders, the UBS team expects Ford to easily trump Wall Street forecasts. The UBS price target for the stock is at $20. The consensus target for the iconic company is $18. Investors receive a 2.5% dividend.
Visteon Corp. (NYSE: VC) beat analyst earning expectations in the first quarter, and the UBS team thinks it will do so again when it reports on August 8. Visteon has three business segments: Climate, Electronics and Interiors. Through these business segments, the company engages in the design, development, manufacturing and support of climate, electronic and interior systems to serve several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide. The UBS price target is $82 and the consensus stands at $76.
UBS also had three stocks rated either Neutral or Sell that they think will miss analysts expectations. They are negative on prospects for Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: LPX), Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) and TripAdvisor Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP).
Investors may consider a short sale on one of these stocks combined with a purchase of others. With the energy names, a pair-trade could be put on. Long and short a name in the same sector. Earnings hits and misses will cause stock to move. Being long or short in front of an earnings event may be a touch riskier, but could lead to big portfolio gains.