Jefferies Adds 2 Very High-Profile Stocks to Franchise Picks List

With most of the first-quarter results in and booked, many of the firms we cover on Wall Street are making some changes to the list of high-conviction stocks that they show to institutional and high net worth clients. This typically happens as the first quarter is often not only a snapshot of how the year started, but companies massage forward guidance, and that often is an indicator of how they expect the rest of the year to be.

In a series of new reports, Jefferies has added two high-profile stocks to the firm’s prestigious Franchise Picks list of high-conviction ideas. Both are well liked on Wall Street and could have outstanding upside potential for investors with a more aggressive posture.

Hain Celestial

This company is added to the list and has great potential as the demand for organic food continues to grow. The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN) manufactures, markets, distributes and sells natural and organic products in approximately 50 countries worldwide. The company has a plethora of very well-known brands that are extremely popular with consumers and many on Wall Street feel that strategic investments, combined with continued efforts to contain costs, increase productivity and enhance cash flows and margins will enable solid earnings results to continue.

The analysts see the stock as one of the best growth stories in the industry, and it continues to be of the firm’s top ideas in the food sector. They cite the combination of solid long-term growth prospect combined with a solid exposure to the fast growing organic and non-GMO space. The analysts have noted in the past that concern over slowing growth in the space is overblown, and we checked short interest, which remains elevated at almost 11% of the float.

The analysts feel the company’s total addressable market (TAM) has the potential to double over the next few years, and that private label products don’t pose a threat or an obstacle to continued solid growth.

The Jefferies price target for the stock is $50, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target is $48.32. The stock closed Friday at $41.86.

NXP Semiconductors

This company is considered a top play for investors looking for a chip stock with Internet of Things exposure. The NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) merger with Freescale Semiconductor was widely applauded on Wall Street, and many analysts believe the merger is transforming the company into a powerhouse. It made NXP the fourth largest semiconductor company in the industry. It is also important to note that the combined company would be the number one supplier in auto semiconductors, number one supplier in global microcontrollers and a dominant supplier in mobile payments.

NXP is getting its chips into high-growth areas such as contactless mobile payments, the Internet of Things, mobile-phone charging, increased cellular data consumption and LED lighting. Trading at solid discount to some of its peers, many analysts are very positive on the faster earnings growth potential relative to their competition. The company reports earnings after the close Monday.

The Jefferies team added NXP to the list as they see the company as having among the highest free cash flow per share in the sector for this year and 2017, a metric they feel is extremely critical in charting performance. They also see the potential for multiple expansion as capital reruns lift. Lastly, the analysts feel that we are heading into a supply chain restock this year, an obvious positive for sales.

The Jefferies price target is a whopping $130, and the consensus target is much lower at $107.88. The stock closed Friday at $85.28.

With both stocks having solid upside potential to the Jefferies price targets, they make good sense for accounts looking to rotate capital. With the market on potentially shaky ground as we head into May, investors may want to buy partial positions and see if we don’t back up some.