Jefferies Franchise Stock Picks to Buy for the Rest of 2015

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After the worst four-day string in some time, investors are hoping that this week’s meltdown was more of an end of the quarter or pretax profit taking binge than a start of a worse correction. With most of the macro and economic fundamentals remaining solid, it makes sense to review portfolios at the end of the quarter and make any needed changes.

We received the Jefferies Franchise Picks list, and thought that many of the stocks make very good sense for growth investors looking to take profits and shift holdings, or maybe looking to add new capital. Like all the firms we cover, the Jefferies list of top picks focuses on the firm’s best recommendations to clients from some of the top analysts.

We scanned the list for five stocks with the best upside potential to the Jefferies price target. Those five are Google Inc. (NASDAQ GOOGL), Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH), Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE: PRU) and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW).

Google

After dramatically underperforming over the past year, this technology behemoth may be a great value type buy for investors now. The company is of course the undisputed leader in Internet search, but with a diverse portfolio that includes everything from the Android platform to YouTube, from the Google Wallet for automatic pay to the Google Flights tool.

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Google Flights not only helps find the cheapest flights, it now also shows year-round price changes, money-saving destination swaps and potential travel delays. Google Flights also separates hotel and flight options so you’re not plagued with hotel deals if your lodging is already set. The product silo at Google is loaded, and more is always in the works.

With a gigantic stash of cash, and some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley helping to drive innovation and growth, Google at current discounted pricing may be on the of the best tech buys for not only this year, but many to come.

The Jefferies price target for the stock is a gigantic $700. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is set at $625.74. The stock closed Thursday at $563.64.

Jarden

This leading provider of a diverse range of consumer products, with its portfolio of over 120 trusted, quality brands sold globally, operates in three primary business segments through a number of well-recognized brands, such as Ball, Yankee Candle, Crock-Pot, Rawlings, Sunbeam, Rival and many more. One of the major advantages to owning this stock is the three separate divisions with differing merchandise and the incredible portfolio of well-known brands.

The Jefferies price target is $63, and the consensus target is $57.82. The shares closed trading on Thursday at $51.65 apiece.

Micron Technology

This global leader in advanced semiconductor systems has a broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies — including DRAM, NAND and NOR flash — that is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. The company’s memory chip solutions enable the world’s most innovative computing, consumer, enterprise storage, networking, mobile, embedded and automotive applications.

Micron and Intel announced this week the availability of their 3D NAND technology, the world’s highest-density flash memory. Flash is the storage technology used inside the lightest laptops, fastest data centers and nearly every cell phone, tablet and mobile device.

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The Jefferies price target on Micron shares is set at $45, and the consensus target is much lower at $41.60. The stock closed Thursday at $26.66 a share.

Prudential Financial

This top financial services and insurance company also makes the Franchise Picks list at Jefferies. Prudential has more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of December 31, 2014, with operations located in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s strong and diverse sales force helps individuals and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management.

Prudential Financial investors are paid a solid 2.9% dividend. The Jefferies price objective is $100, while the consensus target is $95.63. Shares closed trading Thursday at $80.04.

VMware

This was a top stock to buy on Wall Street, until back-to-back mediocre earnings releases hit the stock. VMware is still a leader in cloud storage software, and its cloud computing service is a new offering for customers. The company recently announced lowered pricing for cloud computing and self-service, pay-as-you-go options for public cloud. The company touts that the vCloud Air product delivers two times the compute power of Microsoft Azure and three times the storage performance of Amazon AWS.

With a tremendous portfolio, and some of the industry’s top applications for cloud computing, the stock is probably one of the best technology buys out there for aggressive investors.

The Jefferies price target is $104, while the consensus target is much lower at $96.08. The stock closed trading on Thursday at $82.28.

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The Jefferies Franchise Picks offer top-of-the-line products and technology and tremendous upside to the posted target prices, and they share a reasonable entry price point for investors looking to buy stock now.