Investing

Oppenheimer Institutional Portfolio Picks: Six Best Ideas for February

Most firms on Wall Street keep a very close eye on their highest ranked names and stocks to buy. They are also wary of giving investors a short time frame to enter their top stocks, just in case something in their thesis either goes wrong or just does not play out in time. So usually target prices are based on at least a 12-month period, and investors can enter when they see fit. Sometimes the time frame can be up to 18 months to hit expected price targets. That gives analysts plenty of wiggle room to change the dialogue.

The Institutional Portfolio Strategy team at Oppenheimer takes a shorter time frame view, if a certain number of the indicators they screen for fall into place. Looking at the list of stocks that made it through their filters this month, they see six new upturns in revisions that are corroborated by strong relative magnitudes and supportive price action. This typically gives them the go-ahead to put on their best ideas for the month and pass them along to investors.

Here are the Oppenheimer Portfolio Strategy six best ideas to buy for the month of February.

Cameron International Corp. (NYSE: CAM) hits the screens in the energy sector. The company has been under pressure from Jana Partners to speed asset sales, and it led the oilfield service sector after its fourth-quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates. Jana Partners is an activist investor firm that often takes significant positions and looks to implement change. Cameron is the second largest maker of oilfield equipment in the United States. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $68.46. Shares closed Wednesday at $58.59.

Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) recently reported that its January bookings volume jumped 17% year-over-year. Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2014, Carnival saw net bookings (new reservations minus cancellations) of more than 565,000 guests. In addition to the record bookings, the company says its website saw an all-time high of 13 million visits in the one-month period. The bookings were at record levels across the entire fleet of 24 ships. Investors are paid a reasonable 2.6% dividend. The consensus price target is $39.91. Carnival closed Wednesday at $38.62.

Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) is a name to buy this month for investors in the materials sector. The company reported strong fourth-quarter results on thicker plastics margins and higher agricultural sales. Its adjusted diluted earnings per share of $2.47 for the full year grew by 31% year-over year. Dow Chemical also expanded the authorized share repurchase program from $1.5 billion to $4.5 billion. Investors are paid a very solid 3.3% dividend. The consensus price target for the chemical giant is $48.33. It closed Wednesday at $44.85.

F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) makes the Oppenheimer list in technology. Quite a few major firms we cover suggest it as a top stock to buy for 2014. Many Wall Street analysts believe the company is well positioned to see increasing market share, accelerated product growth and strong earnings performance, which should result in further share appreciation. The company is primed to bring a strong offering of virtual services, based on its experience with traditional servers, and the company should benefit as digital traffic continues to explode. F5 Networks likely will become an important supplier of virtual firewalls, ADCs, policy enforcement and other virtual network services in emerging overlay environments. The consensus price target for this top name is $116.06. Shares closed Wednesday at $103.95.

Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA) has absolutely been on fire, and it hits the Oppenheimer screens in the consumer discretionary sector. The stock was recently touted on Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” show on CNBC as a top trading recommendation. The company sells branded performance apparel, footwear and accessories for men, women and youth, primarily in North America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. The company offers its apparel in compression, fitted and loose fit types to be worn in hot, cold and in-between the extremes. The consensus price target for the stock is $102.01. The stock has blown past that level and closed Wednesday at $104.87.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) is an airline that gets the green light for a best idea from Oppenheimer. The company made big news recently when it closed its money-losing hub that was in Cleveland. The city fathers were less than thrilled, but Wall Street analysts applauded the cost-saving move. Imperial Capital analyst Bob McAdoo said the Cleveland hub closure means that “Cleveland will no longer compete for traffic with United’s other hubs” or with flights operated by other carriers. The consensus price target for the airline is $53.23. Shares closed Wednesday at $43.61.

It is always helpful for investors when a Wall Street firm will actually take a stand and say certain ideas look good right now. Vague time frames and lack of entry point guidance often keeps investors looking to put capital to work a little hamstrung on when to actually pull the trigger. Oppenheimer says these six stocks are a go for February.