Momentum investors are a brave breed, and depending on market conditions, sometimes a rare one. They have enjoyed a nice run since the market lows of 2009 and could be poised for a big 2015, if their timing is right. Market strategists on Wall Street vary widely on the potential for 2015, with some calling for 4% gains and some upward of 17%. If the market gets a few sustained runs, momentum stocks have a real shot of adding serious upside to aggressive portfolios.
A new research report from Baird highlights the firm’s top picks for 2015. We screened the Baird list, which is a very diverse and solid group of picks, for the momentum stocks they tout as top picks for 2015.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) has become the momentum trader’s dream stock, and it has absolutely eviscerated short sellers trying to time the downfall of the company’s huge momentum. Chipotle has more than 1,500 restaurants worldwide and is planning on opening up to 195 new ones this year. Like many companies, Chipotle has also spoken favorably to the idea of increasing its stock buyback program, which speaks to the company’s confidence in the growth of its business. A stock split could also be in order for the stock in 2015.
The Baird price target for this top consumer/retail pick for 2015 is a gigantic $800. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $720.83. The stock closed trading Tuesday at $664.38 a share.
First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is a top alternative energy company that makes the top picks list at Baird for 2015. The company operates through two segments. The Components segment designs, manufactures and sells solar modules, such as CdTe modules that convert sunlight into electricity for project developers, system integrators and operators of photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems. The Systems segment provides turn-key PV solar power systems or solar solutions, such as project development; engineering, procurement and construction; operating and maintenance; and project finance services to investor owned utilities, independent power developers and producers, commercial and industrial companies, and PV solar power system owners.
The Baird price target is set at a monster $87, with the consensus target at $60.56. Shares closed trading Tuesday at $40.86.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) continues to be a top media and services play on Wall Street, and the company continued its unparalleled growth with yet another expansion of its programming and reach last year across Europe. The Baird team also feels that Netflix is likely to benefit from a materially stronger original content launch, which would bolster the already strong franchises, like the hit political show “House of Cards.” which will return in late February. With many consumers tired of rising cable and carrier content prices, the streaming leader may have a big 2015 in front of them
The Baird price target is $505, and the consensus target is at $416.32. Shares close trading on Tuesday at $325.51.
Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has been another momentum buyer’s dream stock over the past two years. The Baird analysts project a successful production ramp for the company of 1,900 vehicles per week run-rate for 02015. They also expect the company to unveil marked margin expansion, the introduction of the highly anticipated Model X, Gigafactory news and new partnerships announcements. All big catalysts that could give momentum investors just the news they are looking for.
The Baird price target for the electric car giant is $275, and the consensus target is $273.21. Shares closed trading on Tuesday at $211.28.
Pharmacyclics Inc. (NASDAQ: PCYC) is rated Outperform at Baird, and it is a top biotech momentum stock to make the elite list for 2015. The company announced in the fall that the FDA will review its supplemental new drug application (sNDA), seeking full approval of Imbruvica for treating patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma who have been treated at least once before for the disease, on a priority basis. A decision is expected perhaps as early as the end of the first quarter.
The Baird price target for this top biotech stock is a large $173, and the consensus target is lower at $161.11. The stock closed down Tuesday at $119.85.
It is important to remember these stocks are only suitable for extremely aggressive trading accounts that can stand large swings in capital and pricing. While the companies themselves are all very solid, any bad news could send them down faster than they go up.