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3 Top Jefferies Growth Stocks to Buy After Sell-Off

The damage was swift and harsh over the past week, and just because things look brighter Tuesday does not necessarily mean the selling is over. However, with the first intra-day 10% correction in over three years in the books, the growling and prowling bears may be quieted for the time being, and it is time for those who do have some dry powder to step in.

In a new report from Jefferies, three top growth stocks hit their screens and they all have substantial upside potential for aggressive growth investors. The Jefferies team has a top tech and biotech company, and a 2014 IPO that has taken a beating and could be poised for big upside.


This company has been on a roll this year and hits all the metrics in the technology sector. Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) is a company that loves income tax time, as its TurboTax product is one of the most widely used, and sales are expected to be very solid once again this year. The company is also well-known for the QuickBooks line of accounting software, which is used by firms big and small. Intuit announced earlier this year it is launching QuickBooks Online Self-Employed, a new product that makes it easy for the rapidly expanding population of freelancers and independent contractors to handle small business accounting. Some 43% of workers are expected to be self-employed by 2020.

Intuit has served small businesses and accountants with QuickBooks for more than 20 years. The company was an early innovator in cloud accounting when it first launched QuickBooks Online in 2001. The company recently announced that QuickBooks Online has more than a million paying subscribers, cementing its market leadership as small businesses shift to the cloud.

The Jefferies team liked the fiscal fourth-quarter numbers, and QuickBooks Online beat consensus expectations. While guidance was below expectations, the switch to subscriber model was the culprit, and with expectations ratcheted down, investors have a tremendous entry point.

Intuit investors are paid a 1.42% dividend. Jefferies has a big $115 price objective. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is 103.93. The stock closed Monday at $84.25, down almost 6%.

Neurocrine Biosciences

This company continues to report success partnering with AbbVie on the company’s top drug candidate Elagolix trials, which are now in Phase 3. Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX) has reported that the data from the trials have been clinically and statistically meaningful. The Jefferies team notes that the company is expecting very positive Phase 3 data on Elagolix and Valbenazine, which the company fully owns, over the next six to nine months.

Many Wall Street analysts believe that Valbenazine will become the standard of care for patients suffering from Tardive Dyskinesia, a neurological disorder that may be caused by long-term or high-dose use of antipsychotic drugs.

The Jefferies price target is $61, and the consensus target is $64. The stock closed Monday at $41.14, down almost 6%.

El Pollo Loco

This had a very hot IPO in the summer of 2014 and has been absolutely crushed over the past six months. El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: LOCO) is down almost 70% since last November, and for aggressive accounts this company could have big upside. El Pollo Loco, which means “the crazy chicken” in Spanish, develops, franchises, licenses and operates quick-service restaurants under the El Pollo Loco name in the United States. The company offers individual and family-sized chicken meals, Mexican-inspired entrees, sides and alternative proteins. As of June 25, 2015, it had approximately 415 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

The Jefferies team acknowledges that the company posted a disappointing second quarter, which continued the beating the shares have taken. And while, they lower EBITDA estimates, they say the company is switching back to value, offering to increase store traffic. Trading at a cheap 12 times 2016 EBITDA estimates, and expecting 8% unit growth, the analysts believe the company will be rewarded a higher growth multiple.

The Jefferies price target is lowered to $19, and the consensus target is $20.67. The stock closed most recently at $11.37 down over 7%.

Nibbling at these top growth idea makes good sense, especially if investors have cash available or sold stock Monday, worried the markets were poised to go lower. With a domestic economy chugging along, and the housing sector picking up, a massive market crash seems unlikely.

By Lee Jackson