5 Analyst Stock Picks From July That Could Double

Many investors love undiscovered hidden value in stocks, even if it is in a stock that they know. Some of the most very aggressive investors will even reach for the stars, chasing stocks that could double or stocks that could rise exponentially. Conservative investors know that stocks of this sort are just too risky to mess with.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens and dozens of analyst reports, activist investor news, and other stock market research each morning to find hidden value or overlooked gems that traders and investors love to read about. Out of all the calls on stocks to buy, there are occasionally some instances where analysts go well above and beyond the call of duty (or beyond aggressive) with stock price targets which imply that a stock could rise 100% or more.

Before you just trust that a call to double means a double will actually take place, keep in mind that it is extremely rare for a stock to double. A typical Buy or Outperform rating in a Dow or S&P 500 stock calls for 8% to 15% upside. So when you see calls for a stock to rise 50%, 75%, or 100% or more, what does it tell you about risk?

More risk disclosures, which should be read before trusting analyst call at all (particularly about a potential double call), are included on page two here. 24/7 Wall St. recently featured other well-known large cap stocks with massive upside as well, but these were more in the 30% to 50% or more range.

These were five of the calls for stocks to either double or come close to doubling made by market pundits in the month of July.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) was recently given a hint that its stock could double over a multi-year period by Dick Bove of Rafferty Capital Markets. We recently highlighted ourselves at 24/7 Wall St. that BofA was among the last 7 mid-to-large banks that was still trading below book value. Still, At $17.88 the consensus price target is just over $19, and the more aggressive calls from analysts are up at $20 and $21 for the stock.

More cautious investors here need to consider that BofA has already more than a double from its post-recession lows. Warren Buffett has already made a significant amount of money on his huge BofA bet, and the days of far higher share prices from before the recession seem like ancient history. Bove gave his case on CNBC and we will leave it at that due to it being four years out rather than the traditional 12-month outlook by most analysts.

Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: FTR) has had its problems in trading with its capital raise and convertible offering, but its super-high dividend yield keeps investors hungry and in the game here. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has the highest price target of all analysts with its $9.00 price objective. Shares closed at $4.72 on Friday, but the stock was under $4.40 earlier in the week. One of the most recent Merrill Lynch reports said:

Frontier has one of the best-covered dividends among all high-yield RLECs, which we view as the cornerstone of the equity value. The company is beginning to demonstrate improved operational performance and we believe upside to post-AT&T Connecticut and Verizon deal synergies, CAF regulatory support and increased broadband market share will lead to a lower yield and improved valuation.

A massive consideration here is that Frontier has earnings on Monday, so trying to jump the gun here would literally be like tossing a coin. It seems very likely that by the time Monday’s opening bell rolls that the stock could be wildly higher or wildly lower. In fact, even if Merrill Lynch maintains its Buy rating it would be very likely that the $9.00 price objective could be brought more in-line with the $6.58 consensus price target. Here is more proof that investors are leery here – Frontier’s most recent short interest was a whopping 163 million shares.

ALSO READ: 10 Stocks to Own for the Next Decade

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) was far from a traditional analyst upgrade, but one firm at least has real money behind its bet that Macy’s could be worth as much as close to a double from current prices. The activist investor fund Starboard came out with a projection that Macy’s could be worth almost double its price today. Of course, it involves some key asset sales that might leave the company with less of a future, but many activists care about the now and the next year rather than the next decade.

Macy’s was given a theoretical value of $125 per share by Starboard if it could sell off or unlock the value in some of its prime real estate assets. With a share price of $69.06 currently, investors should consider that the consensus analyst price target is $68.53 and the highest analyst price target is up at $82.00. In short, this is far more aggressive than Wall Street analysts will go. Activist math is sometimes very different from the math the rest of the planet uses.

Vital Therapies, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTL) is unknown to many investors and its market cap is under $400 million. Canaccord Genuity reiterated its Buy rating on the last day of July with a whopping $35 price target. Vital Therapies closed at $16.22 on Friday, up 18% from the $13.73 close after its loss was reported.

Canaccord Genuity said it expect positive top-line data in the third quarter of 2015. Its analyst John Newman said:

We continue to expect positive Phase 3 data for ELAD in Alcohol Induced Liver Decompensation (AILD) and believe ELAD will show a statistically significant Overall Survival benefit at day 91 vs. placebo. Importantly, the Phase 3 study includes strict entry criteria in order to make sure patients are not too healthy to recover without treatment, but also not too ill such that they have no chance of benefit regardless of treatment. We believe the study is properly powered to show a positive result.

California Resources Corporation (NYSE: CRC) is another swing for the fences call from BofA Merrill Lynch. The firm maintained its Buy rating in early July, and kept a $15.00 price objective. That compares to a $4.23 share price at the end of the month – down from $5.50 right after the call was made. Needless to say, the price of fossil fuels here is simply grinding against what a research report can highlight as value.

Merrill Lynch’s draw here is that the annuity value shows at the simplest level a $15 value, and we gave this one more in-depth coverage at the time. Will that ‘annuity value’ hold up at lower energy prices? Well, we’ll leave that verdict up to you but we would highlight that California Resources has a consensus price target of $8.75 and that $15.00 target is of course the highest target of the six analysts following the stock. If you want more doubt here, what does a short interest of 30.3 million shares tell you against an average daily volume of about 6 million shares?

Its 52-week range is $3.75 to $9.87. California Resources is and oil and natural gas exploration and production company which focuses its efforts in the State of California, with 68% of its reserves in the San Joaquin Basin and 22% of its reserves in the Los Angeles Basin.

ALSO READ: 7 Analyst Stocks Under $10 With Massive Upside Calls


As of August 1, only one member of the S&P 500 has doubled so far in 2015 – and only 2 members of the S&P 500 are up over 100% from this time a year ago. That is your proof that it is very rare for a stock to double. Now consider that the bull market is nearly six and a half years old – stocks have already run higher, so finding a stock called on to double is even that much more tricky.

Another consideration about analyst calls for a stock to double is that it generally is the most aggressive analyst of peers that has the call for a double. Analysts are often wrong, and many have no more real information to base their calls on than the other most sophisticated investors have on their own.

Needless to say, there are many risks above and beyond traditional market risk to consider here. 24/7 Wall St. has presented the other side of the coin here as well, in some cases pointing out the risk or the caveats. We wouldn’t want our readers thinking we believe every analyst call just because someone else said so.

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