5 Contrarian Ideas for Underappreciated Upside From Credit Suisse

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Finding new investment ideas late in 2019 is a challenging effort. There is so much uncertainty in the markets and in geopolitics, and the U.S. growth is slowing to the point that the public has heard about imminent recession risks daily for months now. Even with all the risks out there, it seems odd that the S&P 500 is still up close to 17% year to date, if the market really is wanting to act like lemmings in a cliff-jumping end.

24/7 Wall St. frequently reviews top research reports to see if there are new ideas of underappreciated situations that investors and traders can take advantage of. It turns out that Credit Suisse has released its latest round of contrarian ideas. These are the firm’s ideas that either are underappreciated by the investing community or where the companies are despised. Getting in ahead of a major wave, assuming you catch the wave in the right place, can bring much higher gains than waiting until the good news is already out.

Most investors understand that contrarian investing is not for the timid. In some ways, it is looking for value investing ideas in companies where value investors would even shy away from. It’s also no different from telling a whole crowd that they are going the wrong way. It frequently feels awful tiptoeing into what has been an unpleasant situation for quite some time.

Also keep in mind is that most Buy and Outperform calls at this stage in the more than 10-year-old bull market are coming with a total return projection of just about 8% to 10%. These contrarian picks are seeing much higher implied upside at Credit Suisse, which means they have higher risk than the usual go-to companies.

One additional note here is that Credit Suisse has included the base-case upside percentage it expects to see, and it has its so-called blue-sky scenario upside for what happens if its base case is exceeded. Here are five contrarian ideas for hidden upside from Credit Suisse.

Cogent Communications Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CCOI) was given an implied upside of 24%, as well as upside of 36% in its blue-sky scenario. Unlike the consensus, Credit Suisse believes that Cogent’s revenue is going to inflect positively in upcoming quarters. That upside is expected from the company’s sales force productivity optimizations that have been a core focus of the company this year.

At $54.60 a share, Cogent has a consensus analyst target price from Refinitiv of $51.55, and it comes with close to a 4.5% dividend yield.

Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) has been a painful stock for investors who are seeking defensive returns from the safety of consumer products. At $151.00, Clorox shares were given a normal 11% upside in the base case but 27% in the blue-sky scenario. Investors have been pessimistic about a turnaround in Glad and charcoal operations, but Credit Suisse’s contrarian playbook is signaling that spending in Glad will close price gaps and that it is something Clorox has had to deal with in the past. The company also noted that Clorox’s investor day signaled that it has a plan in place to turn around charcoal.

Clorox has a 2.8% yield, and its consensus target price is $148.00. The 52-week trading range is $141.53 to $167.70.

Globe Life Inc. (NYSE: GL) was given 21% upside in the base case and 33% upside in the blue-sky case. The firm noted that consensus views have its shares being too expensive, but Credit Suisse expects Globe Life to justify a premium valuation by continuing to deliver high-single-digit annual adjusted earnings per share growth.

With shares at $93.00, Globe Life has a consensus target price of only $89.90, and its 52-week trading range is $69.68 to $96.92.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) may need no introduction, but it has been its own boulevard of broken dreams for tech investors for years now, since it has lost one-third of its value since 2013. While the consensus view is that IBM is a no-growth business and that the contribution from the recent Red Hat acquisition is too small to move the bar, Credit Suisse sees that acquisition as a landmark shift in IBM’s overall strategy. The firm sees the company pivoting toward growth rather than relying on its lower-quality drivers. Credit Suisse’s base case in the contrarian play is 21% in implied upside, but it sees 43% upside in the blue-sky scenario.

At $139.50 a share, IBM has a dividend yield of 4.5% and a consensus target price of $153.05.

Thomson Reuters Corp. (NYSE: TRI) was the last of the bullish contrarian picks. Credit Suisse believes that the market is not properly discounting the Refinitiv transaction into its model. The firm sees an implied 91% upside in the base case to its target price, but the blue-sky scenario showed an implied upside of 49%, if all goes well.

Thomson Reuters was last seen down 1% at $66.50, well above the consensus target price of $47.72. It has a 52-week trading range of $44.39 to $71.28 and a dividend yield just above 2%.


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