Credit Suisse is among the many brokerage and research firms that have set their prized focus lists for the year ahead. The firm updated its U.S. Focus List right before Christmas, and this is effectively the firm’s highest conviction list for the year ahead. Credit Suisse’s top four stocks on its U.S. Focus List will have average gains of 40% to 50%, if the firm is correct.
24/7 Wall St. would remind its readers that this list may change right after the start of the year. Strategists often make changes of this sort right after the new year begins. To show that these “top picks” could change: Credit Suisse deleted two stocks and added three stocks to this prized list in the first 10 days of 2014.
We have shown the implied upside on each stock, as compared this to the consensus analyst price target. Also shown is the trading range, forward valuation metrics and additional color on what to look for in 2015. These are the four highest upside conviction picks from Credit Suisse’s U.S. Focus List.
Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) recently has been the subject of profit taking, as shares are down around 10% for the month. This came after a run that took shares up 90% from the beginning of the year through Labor Day. Unfortunately, Tesla is a potential loser of the oil price drop, as the economics are poor at $2 gas versus $4 gas. Shares closed trading at $222.23 Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $136.87 to $291.42. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $273.21, which implies upside of 22%. That compares to the Credit Suisse price target of $325, which implies upside of 45%.
Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB) has suffered the wrath of low oil and gas prices, and as a result it now has a dividend yield north of 5%. 24/7 Wall St. has mentioned this stock as one of the top MLP players to own for 2015. Williams is one of the leading energy infrastructure companies in North America and owns controlling interest in Williams Partners and Access Midstream Partners. Shares ended Tuesday at $45.39, in a 52-week range of $37.77 to $59.77. The stock has a consensus price target of $63.64, implying an upside of 40%. The Credit Suisse price target of $70 implies an upside of 54%. It is also worth mentioning that it would be no shock if the firm lowered its price target, given that so many other firms have done so.
Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) has had an amazing year so far in 2014, and it is now a giant in both DRAM and flash memory, due to its acquisition of Elpida in July 2013. The stock is currently screened as a value stock rather than massive turnaround and growth stock, as sales growth is slowing handily. It is also worth noting that the stock is still trading at less than 10 times future earnings. Shares closed at $35.40, compared to a 52-week trading range of $20.64 to $36.59. The consensus analyst price target is $42.38, which implies an upside of 19%. The Credit Suisse price target of $50 implies an upside of 41%.
VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) was a huge contributing factor to EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) maintaining dominance in storage and virtualization. Activist investor Paul Singer’s Elliott Management has put pressure on EMC to sell all or part of its 80% stake in VMware. Elliot has suggested a tax-free spin-off of EMC’s stake could have an upside exceeding 40%. VMware is the leader in virtualization both in the United States and internationally, but at the moment seems to be just a tracking stock under EMC’s control. Shares closed at $82.67 Tuesday, against a 52-week trading range of $75.85 to $112.89. The consensus analyst price target is $101.63, which implies an upside of 23%. The Credit Suisse price target of $130 implies an upside of 57%.
Will all these stocks remain on the U.S. Focus List at Credit Suisse in early 2015? Will the price targets be brought down to more reasonable expectations? We’ll see soon enough, so stay tuned.