With the first quarter of 2021 well underway, many of the top companies we follow on Wall Street are making some changes to the lists of their high-conviction stock picks for clients. With the market recently hitting all-time highs on all the major indexes, it makes sense to examine the lists, as the rest of the year could have some additional volatility as the political and geopolitical cycle could still prove to be very explosive components.
With fourth-quarter earnings reports still pouring in this week, the analysts at BofA Securities have made some big changes to the firm’s US 1 List of top stock recommendations. Three new companies are added, and two that have performed admirably are being removed.
While the three new additions are rated Buy at BofA Securities, it is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.
This market leader is a good idea for more conservative investors looking for health care positioning. HCA Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: HCA) offers health care services. It provides diagnosis, treatments, consultancy, nursing, surgeries and other services, as well as medical education, physician resource center and training programs. It serves patients in the United States, operating from its network of approximately 185 hospitals and 2,000 sites of care.
With its founding in 1968, HCA Healthcare created a new model for hospital care in the United States, using combined resources to strengthen hospitals, deliver patient-focused care and improve the practice of medicine. The company has conducted a number of clinical studies, including one that demonstrated that full-term delivery is healthier than early elective delivery of babies and another that identified a clinical protocol that can reduce bloodstream infections in ICU patients by 44%.
Shareholders receive just a 0.26% dividend. BofA Securities has a $197 price target for the shares, while the Wall Street consensus target is $183.71. The closing price for HCA Healthcare stock on Monday was $166.93, after almost a 3% gain for the day.
This continues to be one of the top credit card plays in the world. Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) is a global payments provider that operates one of the largest payment processing networks, connecting billions of consumers, millions of merchants, and thousands of financial institutions in more than 210 countries. Its brands include Mastercard, Maestro and Cirrus.
The company also provides value-enhancing offerings such as loyalty and rewards programs, information services and consulting. According to Nilson estimates, Mastercard is the third-largest global credit and debit network, as measured by volume.