The first full week of April saw the S&P 500 hit 2,100 again and also saw the Dow hit 18,000 again. Investors keep looking for value where they can find it, and the trend that has been set in stone is that they line up to buy stocks on pullbacks. 24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst reports each day of the week to find hidden gems for its readers. Some of these analyst calls cover stocks to buy and some cover stocks to sell. At the end of each week, we review all of the week’s analyst reports to find the standout calls, and the biggest upside calls often come in the low-priced and small-cap stocks.
Investors who review analyst reports are used to seeing calls for 10%, 20% or as much as 30% upside in traditional Dow or S&P stocks. In the small-cap or under-$10 category, investors often see predictions from analysts calling for upside of 50%, 100% or even more.
24/7 Wall St. would, as always, remind its readers that it is very common for analyst calls to not live up to expectations. The small-cap and low-priced stocks almost always come with much more risk than large cap and well-known company stocks. Some analyst reports even feel like they are all-or-none gambles.
If one warning can be clear and hit home the hardest, it is that many small-cap and low-priced stocks actually implode. Some investors think that small-cap and low-priced stocks eventually will grow into huge companies. History has proven that some make it, but many flop. The riskier stock categories are not appropriate for conservative investors.
This past week we tracked seven key analyst calls in stocks that were trading under $10 when the analysts made their calls. These are this week’s calls.
BIND Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND) was started as Outperform at Oppenheimer on Tuesday. It was also given a price target of $14.00, which implied upside of almost 150% from the prior $5.67 close. While this is a huge target, the consensus price target is actually $15.50, and the 52-week range is $4.89 to $13.72. Shares rose this week on the news, and the late-Friday price of $6.72 left a more conservative upside of “only 108%.” Yes, there is a little sarcasm in finance sometimes. Be advised that BIND’s market cap is very small at $137 million.
Cancer Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: CGIX) was started as Buy at Janney Capital Markets on Thursday. The firm assigned a Fair Value estimate of $13.00, well above the $8.04 prior close. Shares rose on Thursday and on Friday, with the stock up at $9.25 late on Friday. The analyst noted that revenues have developed slower than expected at Cancer Genetics, but said that its clinical services business may double in 2015. This call implied 61% upside from the original call, but the higher price on Friday left an implied upside of 40%. Cancer genetics has a 52-week range of $4.83 to $16.88 and a consensus analyst target of $15.44.
Energous Corp. (NASDAQ: WATT) was started as Buy with a $15 price target at Roth Capital on Wednesday. This left implied upside of 72%, versus the prior close of $8.71, but shares were trading at $9.04 shortly before the close on Friday. That left an implied upside of 66% from the higher price. Keep in mind that this is a highly speculative company focused on wireless power charging solutions. This aggressive analyst call was even higher than another very bullish call seen from Oppenheimer last month.
Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) is close to $2 billion in market cap, but it still has a share price of $8.34 as of late on Friday. Janney Capital Markets reiterated its Buy rating on Tuesday, and the firm has a $12 Fair Value estimate. This was versus a $7.81 closing price before the call, but the higher price leaves an implied upside of 44%, if the firm is accurate. Janney believes that a data-heavy 2015 will continue driving the shares higher. Novavax has a 52-week range of $3.34 to $9.95 and a consensus target of $11.04. Its highest target is up at $14, and the company is presenting at the 14th Annual Needham Healthcare Conference on April 15.
Rocket Fuel Inc. (NASDAQ: FUEL) is now under $10, but that is because its performance has been atrocious since its IPO. Its 52-week high is $39.99, versus an $8.89 price late on Friday. Janney Capital Markets reiterated its Buy rating on Tuesday with a Fair Value estimate of $17.50. This leaves almost a double-your-money upside price target if the firm is right, but this AI-enhanced advertising player has been a massive disappointment so far. Janney feels that Rocket Fuel can overcome the ad agency dilemma.
Verastem Inc. (NASDAQ: VSTM) was under $10 when the call was made, but the stock was up at $10.49 late on Friday. The stock also dipped under $10 on Thursday, but this would still be a runner-up candidate for pullbacks. The small-cap biotech was given a Buy rating and a price target of $16.00 by the firm H.C. Wainwright.
Windstream Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN) was reiterated as Buy with $10 price objective at Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Monday. It is in the midst of spinning off its fiber, copper and other assets into a public real estate investment trust (REIT). The firm said that the implied value for Communications Sales & Leasing means investors are getting the Windstream OpCo at or nearly free. Merrill Lynch’s target implies roughly 25% upside from the $8.02 price late on Friday, and that is not even counting the double-digit yield investors have received in the past.
Friday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades were in Apple, Citrix Systems, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Mylan, Netflix, Weatherford International and a half dozen more companies.