Jefferies Newest Franchise List Stocks Have Big Upside Potential

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All the companies that we follow here at 24/7 Wall St. keep a list for their institutional and retail clients of high-conviction stock picks. These are generally the companies they not only like on a longer term basis, but companies that usually have big upside to the assigned target price. Since the beginning of the year, many firms on Wall Street have tweaked their lists to account for potential changes in 2018, and one company has added some outstanding stocks we feel could have outsized upside.

We looked through the Jefferies Franchise List portfolio for the additions they have made in the first two months of 2018, and four companies look like great plays for growth portfolios that have a somewhat higher risk tolerance threshold. Of course, all are rated Buy at Jefferies.

DXC Technology

This company may be somewhat off the radar for investors, but is well-liked at Jefferies and across Wall Street. DXC Technology Co. (NYSE: DXC) is the world’s second-largest pure-play IT services firm, behind only Accenture, and generated around $25 billion in annual revenues. Moreover, as of fiscal 2017, the company had more than 170,000 employees (with an offshore mix of around 50%), serviced around 6,000 clients in a wide range of verticals, and had a presence in over 70 countries, with the Americas representing around 50% of total revenues.

The company reported solid fiscal third-quarter results earlier this month that included impressive margin performance and revenues that were in line with estimates. DXC also offered fiscal 2018 earnings guidance that was raised from previous levels.

Shareholders are paid a small 0.70% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the shares is $120, while the Wall Street consensus target is $111.50. The stock closed trading on Monday at $104.64 a share.

Diamondback Energy

This is a top Permian Basin play for more aggressive accounts. Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG) is an independent oil and natural gas company headquartered in Midland, Texas, and focused on the acquisition, development, exploration and exploitation of unconventional, onshore oil and natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin in West Texas.

Diamondback’s activities are primarily focused on the horizontal exploitation of multiple intervals within the Wolfcamp, Spraberry, Clearfork and Cline formations.

Wall Street analysts have noted in the past the company’s top-tier asset base, solid accretive additions and financial discipline, which they think allows for not only continued solid cash flow, but could put the company in play as a takeover target. Diamondback continues to drill some of the most economical wells in the United States as efficiencies improve, costs decrease and activity remains in the better regions.

Jefferies has a $160 price target, and the consensus target is $152.50. Shares closed Monday at $127.72.

Texas Instruments

This old-school chip tech company was a recent addition to the Jefferies Franchise List. Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) is a broad-based supplier of semiconductor components, ranging from digital signal processors to high-performance analog components to digital light-processing technology and calculators. Some 65% of Texas Instruments sales are exposed to the well-diversified, business-to-business industrial, automotive, communications infrastructure and enterprise markets.

Jefferies remains bullish on the company despite quarterly results that some on Wall Street did not care for. The report noted this:

Analyst Mark Lipacis recently added the stock to the Franchise Pick list as he believes the company is uniquely positioned to benefit from several secular drivers as the industry shifts towards the next phase of growth-the Internet of Things-and cyclical demand from industrial capex picks up. He notes that the Auto and Industrial businesses grew by 18-21% in 2017. Further, he expects the company to expand gross margins by 10% as consolidation in semis drives further pricing power.

Shareholders receive a 2.32% dividend. The $130 Jefferies price objective compares with a consensus target of $120.58. The stock closed Monday at $109.63.


This smaller company looks to be a big winner from the recent tax reform package. WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) is a provider of corporate payment solutions, and it operates through three segments. The Fleet Solutions segment provides customers with payment and transaction processing services designed for the needs of commercial and government fleets.

The Travel and Corporate Solutions segment focuses on the complex payment environment of business-to-business payments, providing customers with payment processing solutions for their corporate payment and transaction monitoring needs.

The Health and Employee Benefit Solutions segment provides health care payment products and software as a service consumer-directed platforms, as well as payroll-related benefits to customers in Brazil.

The company’s tax rate is expected to drop from 36.3%, which Jefferies thinks can raise earnings per share almost 13%.

Jefferies has set its price target at $175. The consensus target is $170.73, and shares closed Monday at $153.64.

These four strong stocks for investors to consider look poised to continue 2018 hitting on all cylinders. While not suitable for more conservative accounts, they look like great additions to growth portfolios searching for alpha.