As we have written before, all the major firms we cover on Wall Street have a list of their top stock picks for the institutional and high net-worth client base. The top firms continually modify these lists, adding and deleting companies as the analysts make changes to earnings and revenues and also review any changes in corporate direction. Following in step, the equity team at Credit Suisse is out with the October update to the Top Picks list.
We screened the top picks for the five stocks with most upside to the posted Credit Suisse price targets. All of the stocks are rated Outperform.
SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) is a stock rated number one overall at Credit Suisse, and it was recently listed as one of the firm’s top new investment ideas. The Credit Suisse team points to continued positive risk-reward, especially after the company had a successful yieldco IPO to act as a positive catalyst, and it may be planning another. The company said recently it was embarking on a project to bring solar-power micro grids to rural India. SunEdison will build and operate the facilities and transfer them to a public entity after five years. The microgrids will begin construction next month. A blow-out earnings number recently also set a very positive tone for the company.
Credit Suisse has a huge $34 price target on the stock, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target is $26.79. The stock closed Thursday down big at $16.95. The upside to the Credit Suisse target is 100%.
Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) flexes its muscle and remain a top stock to buy, and it is a top oil services pick on the Credit Suisse list. The company now leads peers with North American margins of 18.2%, and also it plans to increase its allocation for operations in North America. The other consideration for North American operations is to reduce costs as it becomes increasingly profitable in this region, which is what is helping to drive the strong margin growth. With oil being absolutely demolished recently, this top oil service company is a great stock to buy on sale.
Halliburton shareholders are paid a 0.9% dividend. The Credit Suisse price objective is $95, and the consensus figure is at $82.44. The stock closed Thursday at $57.28. The upside to the target is almost 65%.
United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) is the only airline transport stock on the number one list, and it has been a show-me story for many investors as the merger with Continental has not been smooth, as customers have experienced numerous computer glitches that have snarled traffic over the past two years. With some of the problems starting to recede, the company does have been earnings growth prospects that could outshine some of their major competition. Increased Asian traffic could also be the wildcard for the stock.
The Credit Suisse price target is a large $68. The consensus target is $55.38. United closed up Thursday, despite the market sell-off, at $45.04. The upside to the target is a solid 50%.
MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) combines a very strong presence in Las Vegas and growing clout in Macau. MGM is poised to perhaps break out after years of so-so trading. While still burdened with high debt, at least some of that debt has been refinanced at lower levels. The Credit Suisse analysts find MGM to have among the most favorable risk-reward, given the combination of exposure to improving trends on the Las Vegas Strip and the continuing growth in the mass market segment in Macau in the near-term, as well as steady balance sheet improvements and its development pipeline in the medium term. While the Macau business has fallen off dramatically this summer, MGM is not as dependent on it for overall revenue.
Credit Suisse has a $33 price target, and the consensus is at $30.69. Shares closed Thursday at $21.39. The upside to the Credit Suisse target is 55%.
United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) was recently made the top pick not only at Credit Suisse, but also last month at Morgan Stanley as well. The company easily blew away Wall Street estimates when it reported second-quarter earnings, and in the process also sent a large contingent of short sellers to the woodshed for a spanking. With numerous positive catalysts from improving demand to new import duties on foreign product, many on Wall Street feel they stock may have as much a 50% upside from current trading levels.
U.S. Steel investors receive a small 0.6% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target is $50, and the consensus target is $43. Shares closed trading down at $33.90. The upside to the price target is a solid 45%.
While not really taking many chances with the number one picks list, investors may want to scale in funds and make partial buys here as market volatility is high, and another leg down could be a distinct possibility.