Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH) makes the Merrill Lynch list and is a favorite name at many Wall Street firms. The company provides information technology (IT), consulting and business process outsourcing services worldwide. The company operates through four segments: Financial Services; Healthcare; Manufacturing, Retail, and Logistics; and Other.
Cognizant offers consulting and technology services, such as IT strategy, program management, operations improvement, strategy and business consulting services. The Merrill Lynch price objective is $57, and the consensus price target for this top tech name is at $56.20. Cognizant closed Wednesday at $50.37.
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is a top consumer discretionary pick and is also on the Merrill Lynch U.S. 1 list. The company has struck a multiyear deal with one of the same Chinese media companies with which DreamWorks has a deal, Shanghai Media Group, to begin producing content specifically for a Chinese audience. Disney as a company is not new to working in China. Disneyland Hong Kong has operated since 2005.
Investors are paid a 1% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $94, and the consensus is posted lower at $89.73. Disney closed trading Wednesday at $87.22.
Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) has underperformed its rivals in the discount space, and many on Wall Street see a turnaround coming. The company has 4,777 stores in the United States and another 177 in Canada. It expands its square footage through new locations and tries to increase sales in existing stores in order to grow.
With Dollar Tree’s metrics bottoming and their core clientele improving along with the economy, the stock has good potential. The Merrill Lynch price target is $71, and the consensus target is $61.85. The stock closed Wednesday at $55.22.
Ensco PLC (NYSE: ESV) is one of the out-of-favor deepwater drillers and a solid energy name to make the list. It also was included on the Merrill Lynch top value list. Last year the company took delivery of ENSCO 121, the second of four ultra-premium harsh environment jackup rigs in its ENSCO 120 Series. ENSCO 121 is an enhanced version of Keppel’s proprietary KFELS Super A Class design. The rig has been contracted in the North Sea at a day rate of approximately $230,000.
Ensco shareholders are paid an outstanding 5.4% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $64 target price, while the consensus target is posted at $53.32. Ensco closed Wednesday at $53.95.
Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB) is a top regional banking name that makes the grade at Merrill Lynch, and it is also a value list member. The company recently announced an 8.3% hike in its quarterly dividend, and it has repurchased 8 million shares of stock this year. The bank also cleared the stress test in the reported period and subsequently got its capital plan approved by the Federal Reserve, under the 2014 Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review.
Fifth Third’s capital plan included a raise in the company’s quarterly common stock dividend to 13 cents per share, which pays investors 2.4% yearly. The Merrill Lynch price target is $25 and the consensus target is $24.15. Shares closed Wednesday at $21.51.
Intercontinental Exchange Group Inc. (NYSE: ICE) makes the growth list and is the leading network of regulated exchanges and clearinghouses for financial and commodity markets. The company delivers transparent, reliable and accessible data, technology and risk management services to markets around the world through its portfolio of exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, ICE Futures, Liffe and Euronext.
ICE investors are paid a small 1.3% dividend. The Merrill Lynch target is $212, and the consensus target is $223.21. ICE closed Wednesday at $186.91.
Noble Corp. (NYSE: NE) is another deepwater driller that many Wall Street analysts are very bullish on, and it is the third name on the value list to do double duty as a top growth stock to buy. With numerous corporate missteps behind it, Noble’s shift to the deepwater/floater market will benefit from an improving landscape and very strong demand. Investors receive a very solid 4.4% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $40 price target, while consensus is lower at $34.82. Noble closed Wednesday trading at $32.33.
O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: ORLY) has been riding the same positive wave that all the automotive parts retailers have. In fact, the current growth estimate for this year calls for earnings-per-share growth of 16.3%. Furthermore, the long-term growth rate is currently an impressive 15.6%, suggesting pretty good prospects for the long haul. Merrill Lynch has a $166 price objective. The consensus price target is $160.65. The stock closed Wednesday at $155.65.
Wednesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included shares of Alcoa, BP, Broadcom, Garmin, Gigamon, KKR, Marvell, KLA-Tencor, Potash, Zillow and many more.