J.P. Morgan's Top Stock Picks for the Second Half of 2014

After a solid first half of the year that saw the S&P 500 rise almost 7%, many of the firms that we cover on Wall Street are out with their stock picks for the second half of the year. While many disagree on what sectors and individual stocks will perform the best, they almost universally agree that the market will end the year higher.

A new report from the equity strategy team at J.P. Morgan presents an extensive list of top names to buy for the next six months in a multitude of categories. We screened their Top Picks list for the selections that have the highest potential upside from current trading levels.

The J.P. Morgan team is not taking any huge shots or leaps of faith here. They are trying to play it straight down the middle of the fairway with solid names that have good earnings and growth prospects. With the stock market at record highs, that is not a bad plan for the balance of the year.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) leads off the list, and it has been absolutely on fire this year, up more than 50%. American Airlines Group is the holding company for American Airlines and U.S. Airways. Together with wholly owned and third-party regional carriers operating as American Eagle and US Airways Express, the airlines operate an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to 339 destinations in 54 countries.

Despite high fuel prices and the cost of the merger and emerging from the bankruptcy, American Airlines continues to draw followers. The J.P. Morgan’s price target for the stock is $57.50. The Thomson First Call price target is $47.66. The stock closed trading on Wednesday at $41.95 a share.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) is a top mid cap to buy at J.P. Morgan and is considered by some a possible takeover target. Media speculation of big-pharma interest in BioMarin is likely related to the commercial success of the orphan drug model globally. Its diversified and expanding pipeline could also provide significant strategic value to acquirers.

BioMarin released updated results from the Phase 1 trial of its PARP inhibitor BMN673. The data continue to suggest that BMN673 is promising in breast cancer and may be active in small cell lung cancer. The J.P. Morgan price target is a lofty $90. The consensus target is $82.47. BioMarin closed Wednesday’s trading at $64.28.

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