All the brokerage firms and banks that we follow here at 24/7 Wall St. keep a list for their institutional and retail clients of high-conviction stock picks. Generally, they not only like these stocks on a longer term basis, but they usually have solid upside to the assigned target price. With the start of the second quarter just over a month away, many Wall Street firms have tweaked their lists to account for fourth-quarter earnings and expectations for the rest of 2021.
For the well-respected Raymond James Analyst Current Favorites list of stocks to buy, analysts at the firm have to select one stock in their coverage space for inclusion. Hence, it is considered the favorite choice.
We screened the list, looking for reopening theme stock ideas. With more good news on the coronavirus front, as an Israeli study showed a single dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reduced infections by 85%, and Bloomberg noting the pace of vaccinations in United States should double in coming weeks, some in the medical community feel we could have herd immunity almost in place by April. That also could mean almost a complete reopening of the economy by the busy summer travel season.
Five stocks perfectly fit the reopening theme in one way or another. Despite being the cream-of-the-crop at Raymond James, it is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.
This company has big west coast exposure and continues to rank high on Wall Street. Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) is the parent company of Alaska Airlines, which serves more than 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Despite recent challenges by other carriers for superiority in the Northwest, the company has strong customer loyalty, which has contributed to outstanding earnings and revenue growth.
Alaska Air focuses on point-to-point traffic in the Pacific Northwest. However, about 20% of its traffic connects over its hubs in Anchorage, Seattle, and to a lesser extent Portland. By developing transcontinental markets, and more recently Hawaii, the company has transformed from a largely north-south directional carrier to one with a more balanced network.
The Raymond James price target for the shares is $65. The Wall Street consensus target is $60.29, but Alaska Air Group stock closed on Monday at $63.61 a share.