With May upon us, the first-quarter earnings results are finally starting to wind down, and most of the analysts on Wall Street seem pretty pleased with the overall results. Add that to the fact that earnings growth for the S&P 500 for 2017 is expected to come in at +10.2%, which would be the best growth rates for the venerable index since 2012. It all totals up to the kind of positive scenario that could keep this old and somewhat tired bull market moving forward.
In a series of new research reports from the analysts at Jefferies, the firm’s top growth stocks to buy now are companies that posted very solid first-quarter results, and these are exactly the kind of stocks that investors looking to stay long the stock market need to focus on now.
The search giant continues to expand and is even working on a driverless car now. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is a global technology company focused around key areas, such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, enterprise and hardware products. It generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising and by selling apps and contents on Google Play, as well as hardware products. The company provides its products and services in more than 100 languages and in 190 countries, regions and territories.
Alphabet offers performance and brand advertising services. It operates through Google and Other Bets segments. The Google segment includes principal internet products, such as Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Apps, Cloud, Android, Chrome and Google Play, as well as technical infrastructure and newer efforts, such as virtual reality.
The analysts point to Google Cloud, which is the largest cloud infrastructure and engages in more technology, infrastructure research and development in headcount and dollars than any other company. That gives it the strength and wherewithal to compete with and differentiate itself from Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure.
The company posted massive earnings this week, hammering analysts’ expectations. Revenue beat on Sites, Networks and Google Other. Paid clicks and CPC also were ahead of consensus. Wall Street is very positive on core margin improvement. Despite approaching $100 billion revenue run-rate, the company shows no signs of slowing down.
The Jefferies price target for the stock is a stunning $1200. The Wall Street consensus price objective is $983.60. The stock closed Friday at $924.52 a share, up almost 4% on the day.
The Jefferies team expects this top business service company to report solid earnings this week. Fleetcor Technologies Inc. (NYSE: FLT) provides fuel cards, commercial payment and data solutions, stored value solutions and workforce payment products and services. The company sells a range of customized fleet and lodging payment programs, and it offers card products to purchase fuel, lodging, food, toll, transportation and related products and services at participating locations.
The company also offers telematics solution that allows fleet operators to monitor the capacity utilization and movement of vehicles and drivers, vehicle maintenance services, prepaid fuel and food vouchers and cards, and workforce payment product related to public transportation and toll vouchers.
In addition, it provides proprietary equipment that reduces unauthorized and fraudulent transactions to over-the-road trucking fleets, shipping fleets and other operators of heavily industrialized equipment, including sea-going vessels, mining equipment, agricultural equipment and locomotives.
The analysts noted this in the report:
More interesting is the fact that the company is likely to release incremental metrics on the May 3rd earnings-per-share call to help disprove bear claims that US small fleet fees represent a large percentage of the company’s revenue. We look for 18% EPS growth for the company in 2017.
Jefferies has a $197 price target for the stock, and the posted consensus target is $187.03. The stock closed last Friday at $141.14 per share.