Strong Dollar Has Analyst Buying US Stocks: 5 Top Picks

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While a strong dollar is nice for those looking to travel to Europe, it’s not so great for companies looking to sell goods and services abroad. For numerous reasons, the U.S. dollar has strengthened dramatically over the summer. With Wall Street ready to enter into the traditional summer vacation mode as we approach Labor Day, now may be the time to reset portfolios and to take into account how the stronger U.S. currency may affect your holdings.

In a new and comprehensive Jefferies report, the firm’s equity strategist Steven DeSanctis continues to prefer value stocks over growth as the group is showing solid earnings growth and breadth. He also prefers companies with the bulk of their sales in the United States, citing the stronger dollar and better domestic earnings growth.

Numerous stocks are selected as solid picks, but here we went with five that look like good values now. All are rated Buy at Jefferies.

Cerner

This solid health care stock has good upside potential, and many on Wall Street think the growth potential is not appreciated. Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ: CERN) offers hospitals and other health care providers a fully integrated scope of over 50 software applications, including its flagship Cerner Millennium solution. Software applications include traditional electronic medical record and computerized physician order entry solutions, along with other clinical information software for lab, radiology, pharmacy, emergency department and ambulatory care.

The company also develops software for financial and administrative applications such as patient accounting, registration and scheduling.

The Jefferies team sees the company coming away with big government contracts, with large orders specifically from VA hospitals around the nation. The company also could benefit from its partnership with Amazon, as the tech giant continues to expand its product offerings and capabilities.

The Jefferies price target for the stock is $70, and the Wall Street consensus target was last seen at $67.79. The stock closed Monday’s trading at $65.43 per share.

The Gap

This top retailer could be poised to benefit from the extra consumer spending. Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) sells private label merchandise through three main retail concepts: The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, along with smaller growth vehicles Athleta and Intermix. The company also sells its products through its company websites. Most of its international stores are Gap stores, concentrated in Western Europe (France, United Kingdom), Japan, China and Canada. The company has over 3,500 stores worldwide.

The company announced this summer that Neil Fiske would take over the role of president and chief executive of its Gap brand. Fiske previously had been chief executive of Billabong, Eddie Bauer and Bath and Body Works. He will permanently replace Jeff Kerwin, who left the company in February.

Gap shareholders are paid a solid 3.02% dividend. Jefferies has a price target of $50, and the posted consensus target is much lower at $32.77. The stock closed trading at $32.17 on Monday.