Here they go, 24/7 readers. The financial media is now very concerned about everything (that was around last week and month as well), and the end of equity investing is near. The reality is, plunging gasoline prices are a de facto raise for most Americans. Plunging interest rates may spur renewed home buying. So when things look the absolute darkest, that is when you need to look at the long-term big picture. Those who did in March of 2009 were well rewarded.
A new research note from Jefferies highlights three of their franchise pick stocks to buy: Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) and Mallinckrodt PLC (NYSE: MNK). These are companies that are being put on sale as the sellers overshoot. We have recommended caution for the past two months, citing the long uninterrupted trading string without a 10% correction, and advised that investors keep some powder dry and to scale in funds to any new positions in case of a big downturn. We are close now, and the Jefferies picks are getting cheaper by the day.
Google is mega cap tech name that the Jefferies analysts favor as a franchise stock pick. The Jefferies team is above consensus for earnings, which come out after the close Thursday, and continue to view the stock as a spectacular long-term holding. They see new-found positive optionality in the company’s search business, and for the first time Google seems to be making inroads into its long-sought effort to extend its search dominance into vertical search, which focuses on specific segments of online content.
The Jefferies analysts also think that Google’s cloud product belongs in the second-tier of its business lines (like Play and Nexus), and it may prove meaningful in the future by offering value chain synergies with the core business. Add this to the growth and adoption by millions of YouTube, and the other growing project silos at the Internet giant, and the unabated growth may continue for years for one simple reason. Google has little if any competition in so many of the core areas of the company.
The Jefferies price target for Google shares is whopping $700. The Thomson/First Call consensus figure is posted at $674.60. The stock closed Wednesday at $530.03 a share.
Intel reported outstanding earnings Wednesday and was immediately sent packing in the massive market sell-off. The new commitment to smartphone and mobile applications, combined with the resurgence of PC growth this year, is paying off huge, as the earnings clearly demonstrated. This continues to make Intel one of the best large-cap value stocks to buy. Intel trades at 15 times forward earnings, more than in recent years, but still a reasonable multiple for investors looking for growth. The Jefferies analysts think the company will ship the FinFet chips in the fourth quarter, and this could mean more share gains in smartphones and tablets. They also think that continued PC cycle and cloud data center growth are key factors for optimism.
Intel shareholders are paid a solid 2.97% dividend. Jefferies has a huge $45 price target, while the consensus target is posted at $34.31. Intel closed Wednesday at $31.27, down almost 5%.
Mallinckrodt’s purchase of Cadence Pharmaceuticals earlier this year is expected to remain accretive, although the firm was put through the wringer for what some thought was overpaying. Now, as the company finishes up its most recent merger and acquisition with Questcor Pharmaceuticals, it will once again be digesting yet another large acquisition. During the company’s recent analyst day, it gave guidance for 2015 that was ahead of current Wall Street expectations. It also indicated that continued mergers and acquisitions remain a part of the corporate strategy.
The Jefferies target price is $110, and the consensus target is $100.08. The stock closed Wednesday at $84.33, down almost 3%. Trading to the Jefferies target would be a 33% gain for investors.
While the old adage that the market goes up like an escalator, and down like an elevator might be true, the time to buy stock is when there is absolute panic and panic selling. This long-awaited and needed correction may be just what the doctor ordered for a leg higher at the end of the year.