Investing

5 Large Cap Rising Star Stocks Portfolio Managers Love

One thing that always happens in institutional portfolio management is trades become “overcrowded.” What that means is hedge fund and mutual fund managers who tend to talk among themselves all end up piling into the same stocks. A new report from Credit Suisse includes a specific list of rising star stocks that are catching on big with portfolio managers that, while popular, may not be as crowded.

We screened the Credit Suisse list for stocks that were rated Outperform by the firm. Five top stocks showed up: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), Tesoro Corp. (NYSE: TSO) UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT).

Apple

Apple remains the world’s biggest and boldest technology company, and it has stayed in the limelight with the release of the new Apple Watch. While not generating the kind of in-store mania the iPhone 6 release did, reports indicate over a million orders for the new wearable device were taken by the company. Apple is hardly a stranger to the tech hierarchy, and the company passed another milestone when it was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average last month, replacing the venerable AT&T.

Many Wall Street analysts say investors need to stay long the stock into first-quarter earnings and through the second quarter. They see strong continued iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales and numerous catalysts on the horizon. The company is also widening its lead over Google in the App marketplace. In fact, revenue at Apple’s global App Store was about 70% higher than on Google Play in the first quarter, compared with about a 60% advantage in the third quarter of 2014.

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Apple investors are paid a 1.5% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target for the stock is $145. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is at $139.85. The stock closed Wednesday at $126.78.

Micron Technology

Though Micron Technology took a risk holding inventory, it may turn out to be the best play for investors. The company recently posted strong earnings, but the forward guidance was less than Wall Street was looking for, and most have lowered estimates for the rest of 2015. Many believe this is one of the top chip stocks to hold in a portfolio.

The Credit Suisse analysts mention the overall supply discipline, strong demand and growth for DRAM, especially for in-memory and handsets, and the “free option” on NAND business and growth. They think they company has earnings potential of as much as $5 per share.

The Credit Suisse price objective is an incredible $50, and the consensus target is much lower at $39.48. The stock closed Wednesday at $28.17.

Tesoro

This is not a surprising rising star pick as the refining sector has been on fire. The company is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products. Tesoro, through its subsidiaries, operates six refineries in the western United States with a combined capacity of over 850,000 barrels per day, as well as ownership in a logistics business that includes a 36% interest in Tesoro Logistics and ownership of its general partner. Tesoro’s retail-marketing system includes over 2,200 retail stations under the ARCO, Shell, Exxon, Mobil, USA Gasoline and Tesoro brands.

Tesoro investors receive a 2.04% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target is $125, and the consensus estimate is much lower at $102.58. Shares closed most recently at $83.33.

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UnitedHealth Group

This top health care provider offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and it contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities. The company offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services, and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services.

The company has posted outstanding earnings over the past year, and it posted outstanding earnings after the close Wednesday. UnitedHealth is one of the companies that has a more limited exposure to the public exchanges.

UnitedHealth investors are paid a 1.3% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target is $135, while consensus target is at $133.70.The shares closed Wednesday at $117.32.

Wal-Mart

The giant retailer made a big splash recently when it raised the wages of approximately 500,000 of its employees by lifting its base wage to $10 by 2016 for current workers (and to the same rate for new hires after six months training). The company, which is the largest employer in some states, has been under fire for some time over employee pay, and this action was a very positive note.

While many Americans are seeing a bump in their take home pay from lower prices, discount stores are still a huge draw for bargain shoppers, and Wal-Mart is the biggest of them all. Having traded off sharply since January, this may be an outstanding buy at current levels.

Wal-Mart investors are paid a solid 2.4% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target is $95, and the consensus target is $84.50. Shares closed trading on Wednesday at $79.74.

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While these rising stars are hardly unknown, they are the stocks that are being accumulated by the top managers — managers who have the kind of research resources to make solid stock picks. All these stocks are suitable for growth portfolios.