Stocks have been volatile over the last two months, and the way ahead is looking tumultuous.
Investors are contending with an array of factors that have shaken financial markets, and conflict in Eastern Europe is the latest catalyst. Further, the Federal Reserve is expected to continue its push against inflation and begin raising interest rates.
Investors with a long-term mindset are looking to Wall Street's top analysts to highlight their favorite stock picks to outlast the latest bout of volatility.
The pros have chosen five stocks with promising fundamentals, according to TipRanks, which tracks the best-performing analysts.
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One of the world's largest retailers is steadily transforming itself into a full-service platform. Amazon (AMZN) has been dabbling across several high-growth industries, and it's still experiencing strong business performance despite the slowdown in e-commerce. The technology conglomerate's growth is continuing to be driven by Amazon Web Services and its Amazon Prime program. Further, the company recently announced it will open a real-world clothing store later this year. (See Amazon Website Traffic on TipRanks)
In a recent report, Ivan Feinseth of Tigress Financial Partners published that Amazon's strong earnings results were boosted by holiday shopping and customer gains from its advertising and cloud services. He noted that Amazon Prime's membership fee was increased to $139, and that the firm has been heavily investing in warehouses and other logistical infrastructure to bring its retail business closer to more households.
Feinseth rated the stock a Buy, and he raised his price target to $4,655 from $4,460.
The analyst highlighted Amazon's turn toward the brick-and-mortar apparel retail space, as the company intends to integrate its online and offline capabilities to maximize clothing sales. Consumers will be able to utilize a "high-tech dressing room process using touchscreens" in the stores, disrupting current shopping experiences.
Amazon Prime Video has expanded its content slate with large investments, such as its acquisitions of MGM Studios and the "Lord of the Rings" franchise. The platform is a major player in the streaming wars and commands a formidable market share.
Feinseth was concrete in his bullish hypothesis, arguing that the recent decline in share price is "a major buying opportunity."
Out of more than 7,000 analysts on TipRanks, Feinseth ranks as No. 63. He has been successful rating stocks 67% of the time, and he has an average return per rating of 30.6%.
The pandemic did little to slow down Walmart (WMT), and now it appears the company is emerging even stronger than before. The retail corporation recently reported strong quarterly earnings results, beating Wall Street consensus estimates on earnings per share and gross margins. Digitization and automation trends have boosted efficiency across the company, and it has seen robust activity over multiple revenue streams. (See Walmart Earnings Data on TipRanks)
Robert Drbul of Guggenheim Partners noted this in his post-earnings report. He explained that Walmart's gross margins were driven by "price management on cost increases, mix, and growing advertising business."
Drbul rated the stock a Buy, and he assigned a price target of $185.
Walmart has been actively repurchasing stock, buying back about $2.4 billion last quarter, totaling $9.8 billion for FY2021. This kind of value returned to shareholders is exactly what top analysts like to see in a healthy company.
The analyst believes that "Walmart's price leadership and operational excellence, as well as a more diversified profit base, led by a growing marketplace and fulfillment services, advertising, financial services, data monetization, and its health-care offering contribute to a positive long-term outlook."
Drbul is rated as No. 86 out of over 7,000 analysts in TipRanks' database. He has been correct 69% of the time when picking stocks, and he has returned 29% on average when doing so.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people took to investing in their living spaces and do-it-yourself projects. This bumped up stocks like Home Depot (HD). Now, the home improvement retailer is fighting against its tough quarterly comparisons as the pandemic wanes, although it is holding its ground and may even poised for upside, according to Zachary Fadem of Wells Fargo.
He wrote that HD's shares "are due for some relief" after the company projected a promising outlook for the year. Additionally, total sales were up 10.7% year-over-year, a strong indicator of growth despite lack of government mandated lockdowns. (See The Home Depot Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks)
Fadem rated the stock a Buy and declared a price target of $460.
The analyst identified several driving factors for Home Depot's progress, namely the high-flying housing market. In the long-term, he is encouraged by the millennial generation moving up to household creation.
Shares of HD have slid more than 23% in 2022, but Fadem appears to see this now as more of a discounted opportunity rather than a sinking liability.
TipRanks has more than 7,000 analysts in its ranks, and Fadem currently sits at No. 58. He has been successful when rating stocks 64% of the time, and he has averaged returns of 44.3% on each one.
About a month after clearing a key hurdle toward becoming a bank, SoFi (SOFI) announced its secured acquisition of digital banking platform Technisys. The financial services tech firm has had a volatile two years as a publicly traded company, seeing its valuation shoot up and down multitudes of its original price. The environment caused by easy credit and high liquidity is expected to wind down as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy, yet analysts remain overwhelmingly bullish on SOFI.
The company offers financial products through its mobile and desktop platforms, and its banking capacities are expected to be boosted by the absorption of Technisys. (See SoFi Stock Charts on TipRanks)
This is the opinion of analyst David Chiaverini of Wedbush Securities, who noted that the $1.1 billion deal could "help SoFi achieve its goal of becoming the 'Amazon Web Services of Fintech.'" Additionally, SOFI will have the ability to innovate more efficiently, release new products, and streamline its decision-making capabilities.
Chiaverini rated the stock a Buy, and he reiterated his price target of $20.
The analyst said that the merger could lead to additional revenue streams and cross-selling opportunities, anticipating that the deal could bring in $500 million to $800 million more in revenues by the end of 2025.
Chiaverini wrote that with Technisys, "the platform will combine with Galileo to become the only company, per management, that offers a customizable, multi-product core financial platform with both UX/ UI streamlining and payment processing capabilities in one tech stack."
Chiaverini currently maintains a ranking of No. 355 out of more than 7,000 expert analysts on TipRanks. His success rate stands at 70%, and he has averaged returns of 29.5% on each of his stock picks.
Palo Alto Networks
Noting this development is Shaul Eyal of Cowen, who noted that the firm beat Wall Street consensus estimates on its revenues, as well as its raised guidance. He attributed the growth to "solid execution into a strong demand environment with a complex threat environment as a backdrop."
Eyal reiterated his Buy rating on PANW, and maintained his price target at $620 per share.
The analyst said that more customers have been upgrading to the platform's entire offering, and that larger, more robust deals are boosting performance for the company. Eyal noted PANW's execution of its business model, and highlighted the macro trends acting as tailwinds for the firm. (See Palo Alto Networks Risk Analysis on TipRanks)
Pandemic-induced shifts toward remote work and the larger digital transformation appear here to stay, Covid-19 or not. These changes have created a favorable demand atmosphere for Palo Alto Networks.
Out of over 7,000 professional analysts, Eyal ranks as No. 14. He has been accurate when rating stocks 74% of the time, and he has brought in 53.5% on average per stock pick.