Investing

4 Top Stocks to Buy Now That Did or Can Blow Away Earnings

Despite all the doom and gloom, most of which emanates from the energy sector, there are some parts of the stock market that are coming in with big numbers and blowing away current and forward estimates. Needless to say, in some cases you don’t have to look much farther than technology and e-commerce to see where the incredible growth is coming from. And the good thing for investors? It’s likely to stay that way.

In a new research report, Jefferies is very positive on some of the earnings that have come out this week from high-profile companies, and earnings potential from others soon to report. The report also reminds investors that many of these top stocks have been hit in the January sell-off and still offer very solid entry points.

Facebook

The huge social media leader posted gigantic numbers that truly blew most of Wall Street away. Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has Instagram, from which Jefferies sees revenues tripling in 2017 over 2016. Premium video and Graph Search capabilities also strengthen the social media giant’s earnings flow.

Jefferies has noted in the past that Facebook and Instagram account for 5% of users’ total media time, but the company doesn’t come close to capturing 5% of total advertising budgets. Instagram advertising opened up in the fourth quarter. The company reported revenues for the December quarter that were 10% ahead of the Jefferies estimates.

Like most Wall Street analysts, Jefferies points out that Facebook remains the top beneficiary of the adoption of mobile Internet trends, with total U.S. Internet time spent on Facebook and Messenger. Other metrics continue to explode, and the key is the lack of viable challengers anywhere in sight. Analysts cite positive monthly data use, easier growth comparisons and positive data on ad revenue drivers as the top catalysts. Jefferies views Facebook’s longer term opportunities as almost unmatched by its mega-cap consumer Internet peers.

Analysts also note that the holidays for 2015 may be the time when advertisers truly embraced mobile ads on a global basis. With over 1.5 billion global users who spend the large majority of their mobile time on Facebook, the company continues to own the social media stratosphere.

Jefferies raised its price target for the stock to $145 from $135. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $125.02, but that is bound to jump. The shares closed Thursday at $109.11, up a massive 15.5% on the day.


Cognizant Technology Solutions

This tech stock is well-liked across Wall Street. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH) provides IT consulting and business process outsourcing services worldwide, such as consulting and technology services, such as IT strategy, program management, operations improvement, strategy and business consulting services.

Cognizant, though based in the United States, primarily uses an offshore workforce in India. It is well positioned for a variety of trends in IT services, and many expect it to increase earnings well in excess of the industry average. The company’s solid second-quarter results were broad based. In addition, the company raised second-half guidance and is a solid, conservative technology holding to add.

The company reports on February 8, and the analysts feel that the focus will be squarely on guidance for the balance of 2016. The target is 12% revenue growth at the minimum, and anything above that could set the stage for continued earnings beats and estimate raises.

Jefferies has a $79 price target. The consensus estimate is $74.50. The stock closed on Thursday at $61.34.

Infinera

This is solid play for investors in data networking. Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ: INFN) provides Intelligent Transport Networks for network operators, enabling reliable, easy to operate, high-capacity optical networks. Infinera leverages its unique large-scale photonic integrated circuits to deliver innovative optical networking solutions for the most demanding network environments. Intelligent Transport Networks enable carriers, cloud network operators, governments and enterprises to automate, converge and scale their data center, metro, long-haul and subsea optical networks.

The company blew away earnings in the most recent quarter and is expected to release its latest results in early February. Infinera also provided forward guidance that was very strong. Jefferies feels that the hot Facebook numbers, along with the increased capital expenditure guidance, could prove to be a positive for Infinera.

The fact the company is leveraged to data center interconnect market makes it a top small cap stock to consider for the huge spending for data center optical, which many think will be $4 billion to $5 billion, as well as $5 billion to $6 billion for the metro spending.

The whopping $30 Jefferies price target is higher than the $26 consensus target. The stock closed Thursday at $14.34.

PayPal

This company was spun-off from eBay last year. PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) operates as a technology platform company that enables digital and mobile payments on behalf of consumers and merchants worldwide. It enables businesses of various sizes to accept payments from merchant websites, mobile devices and applications, as well as at offline retail locations through a range of payment solutions across its payment platform, including PayPal, PayPal Credit, Venmo and Braintree products. That platform allows customers to pay and get paid, withdraw funds to their bank accounts and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in various currencies.

Jefferies thinks that solid revenue growth over the next five years is possible and the scarcity value, or lack of competition, could help drive the multiple for the company. Some Wall Street analysts have pointed to the new acquisitions PayPal has made, like Venmo and Paydiant, that are leveragable with the combination of Paydiant. Many also think that the eBay separation likely will help the company’s positioning with large merchants.

Paypal also just reported outstanding earnings, and the acceleration in active users and payment volume growth was a positive. In fact, Jefferies notes that active customer accounts grew to a whopping 6.6 million, which is a record for the company. The company is, in their words, a “scarce asset,” or one that is quite unique, and growing the top line at a mid-teens level is outstanding as a large cap company.

The Jefferies price target is $44, the consensus target is $41.19, and shares closed on Thursday at $34.24, up a strong 8.4%.


While these stocks remain more suitable for more aggressive growth accounts, investors looking for dominance within a sector should consider any or all these outstanding companies now.

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