A lackluster jobs report didn’t derail the markets last week. New jobs in April totaled only 266,000, far below the 978K expected, and the official unemployment rate, which had been predicted to come in at 5.8% actually ticked up slightly to 6.1%. Even so, the tech-weighted NASDAQ gained 0.88% in Friday’s session, the broader S&P 500 was up 0.75% at the end of the day. These gains brought the S&P to a new record level, with a year-to-date gain of 13%. The market’s growth so far this year has been broad-based, based as it is on a general economic reopening as the corona panic shrinks in the rear-view mirror.
Broad-based market gains create a positive environment for growth stocks. Using the TipRanks database, we’ve pulled up three stocks that fit a profile: a Buy rating from Wall Street, recent share appreciation that strongly outperforms the overall markets, and considerable upside potential, indicating that they may still be undervalued. Here are the details.
We’ll start in footwear, where Crocs took the world by storm almost 20 years ago, when it first started selling its signature brand of foam clogs. The shoes were big, bright, and even tacky – but they caught on and succeeded, and the company has since branched out into more traditional footwear, including sandals, sneakers, and even dress shoes. The brand has grown popular with teens, who see it as an ‘ugly chic’ and retro – but have boosted sales.
And boosted sales are what the game is all about. The company’s quarterly revenues hit their recent trough in the fourth quarter of 2019, and since then have recorded 5 consecutive quarter-over-quarter revenue gains, with last three also being year-over-year gains. The most recent quarterly reports, released last month for 1Q21, showed $460.1 million on the top line, a company record, and a 63% year-over-year gain. EPS, at $1.47, was down from Q4’s $2.69 – but up more than 800% from the 16 cents recorded in the year-ago quarter.
That gain helped cap a year in which CROX shares have appreciated an impressive 374%, and are still trending upwards.
Crocs’ overperformance has caught the eye of Piper Sandler analyst Erinn Murphy, who is ranked in the top 10% of Wall Street’s stock pros.
“We applaud the Crocs’ team for their continued execution, disciplined inventory management & account management and underlying reinvestments in the brand health. Too, with strong visibility into Q2 (sales forecast +60% to 70%) and 2H estimates moving up handily with solid orderbook plans to boot, we believe bears worried about the sustainability of the brand momentum will need to hibernate for another 12 months,” Murphy noted.
To this end, Murphy gives CROX an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and her $140 price target suggests it has a ~29% upside in the next 12 months. (To watch Murphy’s track record, click here)
It’s clear that Wall Street generally agrees with the Piper Sandler take on Crocs. The stock has 8 recent reviews, which include 6 to Buy and 2 to Hold, giving the stock its Strong Buy consensus rating. The share price is $108.92, and the average target of $123.75 indicates room for ~14% growth in the year ahead. (See CROX stock analysis on TipRanks)
Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. (CLF)
We’ll continue our look at growth stocks with Cleveland-Cliffs. This mining and steel company, based in Ohio, has four active iron mines in northern Minnesota and Michigan. The company started out as a miner, and in 2020 acquired two steelmaking firms, AK Steel and ArcelorMittal USA, and became both self-sufficient in the steel industry, from ground to foundry, and the largest North American producer of flat-rolled steel.
The company has seen its shares rise dramatically in recent quarters, on the back of rising revenues. CLF is up 393% since this time one year ago, galloping past the S&P’s 44% one-year gain. Cleveland-Cliffs’ rise has come as the company has generated $1 billion-plus revenues for four quarters in a row.
The most recent quarter, 1Q21, showed $4.02 billion on the top line. While slightly below analyst expectations, this total was up 84% from Q4, and almost 10x greater than the year-ago quarter’s $385.9 million. Looking at earnings, CLF showed a modest net profit of $41 million in the quarter, or 7 cents per share. This is a solid turnaround from the year-ago quarter’s net loss of $52 million, or 18 cents per share.
The gains in revenue and earnings are considered a landmark for the company, starting its first full year as a self-sufficient iron miner and steel maker. In addition to starting the year on a positive note, the company also boasted liquidity of $1.8 billion.
Lucas Pipes, 5-star analyst with B. Riley, writes of Cleveland-Cliffs: “With near-term cash flows expected to be robust ($2.3B expected for 2021), the company expects to use excess cash flow to aggressively reduce debt. We see low leverage as a strategic priority for the company at this time as it proves out the benefits of its fully integrated model. In our opinion, Cleveland-Cliffs represents the most attractive value in the space.”
These comments back up Pipes’ Buy rating, and he sets a $24 price target that implies a 56% one-year upside potential. (To watch Pipes’ track record, click here)
Overall, the Street’s take on CLF is currently split evenly down the middle. 3 Buys and 3 Holds add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average price target is $25.40 and implies that the analysts see the stock rising ~20% from current levels. (See CLF stock analysis on TipRanks)
Atlas Air (AAWW)
Last but not least is Atlas Air, a $2 billion player in the aviation industry. Atlas operates as a cargo airline and passenger charter service, and an aircraft lessor to other airlines, renting out planes along with air and ground crew services. The company controls a fleet of Boeing commercial aircraft, including 747s, 777s, 767s, and 737s, configured for a variety of roles.
As can be imagined, Atlas saw business decline during the corona pandemic – but managed to weather the crisis due to the long-term nature of most of its leases. The top line is up 33% year-over-year for 1Q21, at $861.3 million. Earnings, at $3.05 per share, are positive, and while down from $6.20 in Q4 they are up 238% from the year-ago quarter. The company expects business to continue strong this year, as demand for air freight is exceeding supply given the fast pace of economic reopening.
Over the past 12 months, Atlas Air has seen strong share growth, with the stock rising 108%. Yet, Truist’s 5-star analyst Stephanie Benjamin believes the stock has more room to grow.
“We view AAWW’s diversified fleet and international reach favorably position the company to capitalize on increased air freight demand due to the global growth in e-commerce and ongoing supply chain disruptions. Furthermore, while AAWW was a clear “COVID beneficiary” we believe its increased focus on long-term contracts over the last year has fundamentally strengthened its business model and should provide greater revenue/earnings visibility going forward,” Benjamin opined.
Unsurprisingly, Benjamin rates the stock a Buy, with a $95 price target that implies an upside of 28% this year. (To watch Benjamin’s track record, click here)
All in all, Wall Street agrees with Benjamin’s call on this. The stock has 3 recent reviews on file, and all are to Buy, making the Strong Buy consensus rating unanimous. With an average price target of $86.67 and a current trading price of $74.03, this stock shows a one-year upside of 17% (See AAWW stock analysis on TipRanks).
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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