Jefferies Top Growth Stock Picks Could Be Huge Year-End Winners

December 3, 2018 by 247lee

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More and more, the companies that we cover on Wall Street are starting to agree that while the future’s still bright for the U.S. economy, it may be one of stock market gains that are much lower than the norm has been over the past 10 years. When that is the case, then investing strategies often shift from indexing to a more disciplined stock-picking routine, and that’s when investors need solid growth ideas.

Jefferies highlights the firm’s top growth stocks to buy each week, and this week is no exception. While the following stocks are better suited for accounts that have a higher risk tolerance, they all make good sense now and all have outstanding upside potential. We found four that look extremely good now and could bring investors some outsized year-end gains.

Salesforce.com

This top company has reported solid fiscal 2018 results as billings drastically improved. Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) provides enterprise cloud computing solutions, with a focus on customer relationship management to various businesses and industries worldwide.

It offers enterprise cloud computing applications and platform services, including Sales Cloud that enables companies to store data, monitor leads and progress, forecast opportunities, gain insights through relationship intelligence and collaborate around sales on desktop and mobile devices.

The company also provides Service Cloud, which enables companies to deliver personalized customer service and support, as well as connect their service agents with customers on various devices; and Marketing Cloud, which enables companies to plan, personalize and optimize customer interactions.

The Jeffries team commented on the company’s recent earnings report:

Company reported fiscal third quarter last week and results exceeded expectations across the board. Billings growth of 27% exceeded consensus’ 19% forecast and implies new subsriber [sic] annual contract value grew 20% on an organic basis versus consensus’ implied 7% decline. Implied fiscal fourth quarter billing guidance came in considerably below Street expectations at 15% vs. 23%. It’s not unusual for the company to issue conservative guidance and our field checks indicate a robust deal pipeline for the US business.

The Jefferies price target on the shares is $189, and the Wall Street consensus price objective is $172.22. The stock closed trading on Friday at $142.76 a share.

Splunk

This stock remains a top buy on Wall Street. Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) provides a software platform for collecting, storing, indexing, searching and analyzing machine-generated data, such as log files and configuration files, which are prevalent in every type of IT system, device and application.

Splunk technology is potentially applicable and disruptive in several market segments, including IT operations, security and compliance, and business intelligence. These market segments are collectively worth $28 billion today.

Earnings continue to shine for the company and the analysts said this:

The Company reported fiscal third quarter results last week, beating expectations handily. Software revenue grew 49%, a function of both new customers and existing customers expanding their adoption of Splunk. The company remains one of the best ways to play the Big Data theme and we believe the underlying biz is likely stronger than it appears. We raised our 2020 revenues and remain slightly ahead of consensus.

Jefferies has a $137 target on this stock, while the posted consensus target was last seen at $131.22. The shares ended trading on Friday at $111.73 apiece.

Starbucks

The retail giant has traded down some recently and is offering a very solid entry point. Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) operates as a roaster, marketer and retailer of specialty coffee worldwide. Its stores offer coffee and tea beverages, packaged roasted whole bean and ground coffees, single-serve and ready-to-drink coffee and tea products, juices and bottled water.

The company also licenses its trademarks through licensed stores, as well as grocery and national foodservice accounts. The company offers its products under the Starbucks, Teavana, Tazo, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, Ethos, Starbucks VIA, Starbucks Doubleshot, Starbucks Refreshers and Starbucks Discoveries Iced Café Favorites brand names.

The Jefferies team is bullish on the overall opportunities in China and noted this:

Our bottoms up analysis of the China business implies it could grow at a 15% compounded annual growth rate to $6.4 billion by fiscal 2024, contributing 20% of EBITDA. While a China spin off is unlikely, our sum-of-the-parts analysis suggests a trading range in the mid-60s to high 80s.

Starbucks shareholders are paid a 2.03% dividend. The $76 Jefferies price objective is well above the $66.32 consensus price target. The stock closed most recently at $66.76 per share.

Ulta Beauty

If there is any stock to own in the discretionary sector, this may be the one. Ulta Salon Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) is a holding company for the Ulta Beauty group of companies. It is a beauty retailer that offers cosmetics, fragrance, skin care, hair care products and salon services. The company offers approximately 20,000 products from over 500 beauty brands across all categories, including its own private label. Ulta Beauty also offers a full-service salon in every store featuring hair, skin and brow services.

Ulta Beauty operates approximately 970 retail stores across over 48 states and the District of Columbia and also distributes its products through its website, which includes a collection of tips, tutorials and social content. The company offers makeup products, such as foundation, face powder, concealer, color correcting, face primer, blush, bronzer, contouring, highlighter, setting spray, shampoos, conditioners, hair styling products, hair styling tools and perfumes.

Jefferies has set its price target at $335. The consensus price objective is $319.52, and the shares ended last week at $297.79.

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These four outstanding stock picks from the Jefferies analysts all have solid upside to the firm’s price target. While better suited for more aggressive growth accounts, they all look like good picks for the rest of 2018 and beyond.