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6 Analyst Stock Picks Called to Rise 50% to 100%

Is the bull market ready to take a breather after more than six years? That is what seven days of negative Dow Jones Industrial Average performance will make investors wonder. Still, the one trend that has proved true over and over for almost four years now is that investors have found different reasons each time to buy every single market dip. Some investors are also now starting to look beyond traditional Dow and S&P 500 stocks for value and upside, particularly if there is a mix of growth and value that is not as widely known.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst upgrades and downgrades each day of the week to find hidden values and new trading and investing ideas for its readers. It turns out that in the analyst calls covering stocks to buy that some analyst calls are far more aggressive than the 8% to 15% usually seen for upside in Dow or S&P 500 stocks. Some analyst price targets are calling for close to 50%, or even 100%, in implied upside.

The first thing that investors need to consider here is that if an analyst has much higher upside then there is just that much more implied risk versus traditional Dow or S&P 500 stocks. In the more speculative stocks, particularly in emerging pharma or other speculative areas, there is not even an assurance that these companies will survive if something goes wrong.

24/7 Wall St. has reviewed six of the very aggressive analyst calls from this past week. These have almost 50% upside projections on the low end, and they have up to just over 100% implied upside on the higher end. Also note that a more detailed explanation of risks and warnings for investors to consider in these very aggressive analyst calls follows our look at these stocks.

ALSO READ: 8 Large Companies Valued Under 10 Times Earnings

Alcoa

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) is one of those analyst calls that will either look like genius or insanity, depending on how the metals sector and the global growth economies do in the next year. UBS raised its rating to Buy from Neutral early in the week, and the firm assigned a $14.00 price target. Alcoa’s prior closing price was $9.64, but a 5% drop on Friday put shares down at $9.41. Alcoa even hit a new 52-week low of $9.36 on Friday, down handily from the 52-week high of $17.75. The UBS call is based more on historic valuations than it was on any single great catalyst that is unknown to the rest of Wall Street.

Still, this $9.41 closing price leaves an implied upside of 49%, before taking Alcoa’s 1.3% dividend into account. Another consideration here is that the consensus analyst price target is a tad higher at $14.33. The prior 52-week low ahead of the call was $9.58, and there is always a reminder that investors should consider: stocks that hit a 52-week low often tend to keep hitting more 52-week lows before they recover.


Box

Box Inc. (NYSE: BOX), the cloud-based enterprise content and data collaboration platform provider, was raised to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer on Friday. Box was also given a $21 price target, versus a $14.01 prior close and $14.50 in mid-Friday trading. That implies upside of 50% (rounded up) from the prior day’s closing price, and the 52-week range is $13.80 to $24.73. Still, Box closed up over 10% at $15.53 on Friday, so that 50% upside may have to technically be seen if its shares pull back from here.

Box also has a consensus analyst price target of $21.67. Oppenheimer noted strong share price pressure since a lock-up expiration, while Box’s growth prospects have not changed with high customer additions and a large and growing total addressable market. The firm even noted a takeout possibility, meaning it could be acquired.

Carrizo

Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO) was maintained as Outperform at RBC Capital Markets on Friday, after reporting a narrower than expected loss the prior day. While RBC trimmed its price target a tad, down to $54 from $58, the weakness in oil prices had Carrizo shares under $35.75 on Thursday and Friday.

Carrizo has a consensus analyst target that is also right above $58 as well, and its 52-week range is $31.70 to $62.88. What investors are looking at is an implied 51% upside, if RBC is proven right. Just keep in mind that even the Moody’s lower assumption on oil prices looked like it had a lot of optimistic wiggle room.

ALSO READ: 5 Big FDA Decisions Expected in August

CTI BioPharma

CTI BioPharma Corp. (NASDAQ: CTIC) was reiterated as Buy at Janney Capital Markets on Friday after the company issued its financial reports for the second quarter. What stood out here was that Janney kept its $3.50 fair value estimate, which implies that CTI shares and the $320 million market cap now could effectively double.

This Janney report showed that CTI highlighted multiple presentations of data from the clinical trials and that it plans to begin exploring regulatory pathways for pacrinib in the United States, and its partner Baxalta will submit an MAA in the European Union. Positive data was shown in pacritinib as a treatment of myelofibrosis patients over the best available therapy, leading to positive patient-reported outcomes.

CTI closed at $1.77 on Friday, against a 52-week range of $1.65 to $2.94. Only five analysts cover CTI BioPharma, and the range of targets is $3.50 to $8.00. Results are anticipated to be available in mid-2016, so there is a long way before this $3.50 fair value may come into play.

GenMark Diagnostics

GenMark Diagnostics Inc. (NASDAQ: GNMK) reported a slightly narrower loss than expected, and shares were up over 5% at $8.45 in late-day trading on Friday. Canaccord Genuity talked up higher guidance and reiterated its Buy rating, along with a $14 price target that implies upside of 65%. The firm said that ePlex is on track and that GenMark is realizing margin efficiencies.

Canaccord Genuity thinks GenMark is on a pathway to emerge as a leader in the multiplex infectious disease testing market over the next two to three years. This call is also ahead of the brokerage firm hosting GenMark at an investor presentation conference this coming week. GenMark has a consensus price target a tad higher at $15.08 and a 52-week range of $7.57 to $14.40.

ALSO READ: 5 Analyst Picks From July Called to Double

Ocular Therapeutix

Ocular Therapeutix Inc. (NASDAQ: OCUL) was started as Buy at Nomura on Wednesday. What stood out was that the firm assigned it a whopping $46.00 price target. The prior close was $22.05, and Ocular shares closed at $21.22 on Friday. While this stock has an average trading volume of about 250,000 shares and a market cap of about $525 million, this represents more than 100% implied upside. And the call was just days ahead of Ocular’s August 10 earnings report, due after the close.

It was back in June that Ocular announced that it was beginning to enroll patients in its Phase 3 clinical trial for Dextenza to be evaluated for a treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is an inflammatory disease resulting from a reaction to allergy-causing substances such as pollen or pet dander, and the company’s noted that it affects 15% to 40% of the U.S. population. There are only four analyst calls on record here, but what is really amazing is that the $46 price target from Nomura is actually the lowest target of the lot. Ocular also raised about $70 million back in June, and Nomura was one of the four underwriters.


24/7 Wall St. wanted to delve deeper into the risks and disclosures that investors genuinely need to consider in very aggressive analyst calls. It turns out the when analysts have very aggressive price targets calling for 50% or 100% upside, there is often a big chance for disappointments and the losses can be far greater than seen in most Dow and S&P 500 stocks during a market pullback.

Investors also need to understand that Wall Street analysts are often given more credit or clout than they deserve. Many of these analyst calls often fail to live up to individual analyst’s expectations. It is quite common for these analysts to have only the same or hardly any more intimate knowledge about a company and the sector than sophisticated institutional investors or than individual investors who become experts in companies in sectors.

Another consideration is that some speculative analyst reports even feel like they are all-or-none calls, or a proverbial Hail Mary pass. Some stocks with small market caps and low share prices can flounder for a decade or more. And worse, some of those stocks end up getting delisted or just implode.

ALSO READ: 4 Large Cap Pharmaceutical Stocks to Buy on Strong Health Care Trends

While there are many younger emerging companies that eventually grow up into multi-billion-dollar giants, the reality is that most companies have limited total addressable markets. Also, some of the companies are just niche companies that simply may never make it above a certain size.

A last warning about highly speculative analyst calls is that these are generally only suitable for the most aggressive investors and traders. Conservative investors, retirees and the so-called widow-and-orphan investors need to stick to larger well-known stocks, with dividends and years of operating history in businesses that are deemed very stable.

By Jon C. Ogg


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