UBS Makes First Big 2016 Changes to Equity Focus List

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With a horrible month to start the year, and February ushering in the same heightened volatility, many of the firms that were cover on Wall Street are making some adjustments and tweaking their lists of top stocks for clients, and who can blame them? With financial pundits hollering recession and interest rates trending lower, it makes sense to review top stock picks and make some adjustments.

The analysts at UBS are no exception, and they are making some changes to the firm’s prestigious Equity Focus list. The UBS Equity Focus list employs what they call the firms House View, Fundamentals, Technicals, Thematics and Quantitative work to determine the stocks that are put into the portfolio. Changes are made on a regular basis as market action and pricing dictates.

High-profile software company Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) and top real estate investment trust (REIT) Essex Property Trust Inc. (NYSE: ESS) were added to the Equity Focus list.

And UBS removed Ameriprise Financial Inc. (NYSE: AMP) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) from the Equity Focus list.

Adobe Systems

This old-school software company operates in three segments. The Digital Media segment provides tools and solutions that enable individuals, small and medium businesses and enterprises to create, publish, promote and monetize their digital content.

The Digital Marketing segment offers solutions for how digital advertising and marketing are created, managed, executed, measured and optimized. This segment provides analytics, social marketing, targeting, media optimization, digital experience management and cross-channel campaign management solutions, as well as video delivery and monetization to digital marketers, advertisers, publishers, merchandisers, Web analysts, chief marketing officers, chief information officers and chief revenue officers.

The Print and Publishing segment offers products and services, such as eLearning solutions, technical document publishing, Web application development and high-end printing, as well as publishing needs of technical and business, and original equipment manufacturers printing businesses.

Adobe is also reasonably safe route for investors looking to own a company with marketing automation products, which have become huge.

The Thomson/First Call consensus price target for the stock is $103.83. The stock ended trading on Thursday at $86.36 per share.


Essex Property Trust

This fully integrated REIT acquires, develops, redevelops and manages multifamily residential properties in selected West Coast markets. Essex currently has ownership interests in 244 apartment communities, with an additional nine properties in various stages of active development.

In 2014, Essex acquired BRE properties, making it the only pure play multifamily REIT in its core markets. These core markets have experienced job growth that has averaged more than 1.5% over national averages over the past several years, as well as 3.5% rental growth. Rents there are also projected to outpace national averages by more than 3.5% over the next five years. The UBS team believes that Essex is positioned to take advantage of strong multifamily demand in this market.

Essex shareholders are paid a 2.72% distribution. The consensus price target is posted at $251.02, and the shares closed most recently at $210.92.