After a year that most of us want to forget, we’re all shaking off our New Year’s celebrations, and taking in 2021’s promise of relief – from a perpetually controversial politics, the never-ending corona crisis, and market volatility.
That last may be the key, at least for stock investors. We’re entering a period of relative calm, after a most unsettled year, and now is the time to start reviewing investment choices and making portfolio decisions for the months and years ahead.
The TipRanks database has both the information and the tools necessary for this act of financial introspection. By combining the Strong Buy analyst consensus with the Perfect 10 rating from the unique Smart Score system, investors can navigate directly to stocks that present a strong case for bullish moves.
Here are the details on three such stocks, along with corroborative commentary from the analysts.
Devon Energy (DVN)
We’ll start with Devon Energy, a mid-cap player in the Texas oil regions. The company owns mineral rights on over 1.8 million acres across Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, with additional production areas in Wyoming. Devon has more than 10,000 production wells in active use, and sits on proven reserves totaling 757 million barrels of oil equivalent, with 64% of that total in recoverable liquids.
The corona pandemic and chronic low prices in the energy industry hurt Devon in 1H20, and by Q2, revenues had fallen to $394 million. That has started to turn around, and the Q3 top line, at $1.07 billion, met expectations. In Q3, the company reported several strong metrics: oil production of 146,000 barrels per day exceeded guidance by 6,000 barrels; production expenses improved 8% yoy; and free cash flow hit $223 million in the quarter. Devon exited Q3 with $1.9 billion in unrestricted cash available. In a further sign of strength, Devon announced toward the end of the third quarter that it has entered into a $2.56 billion agreement to acquire WPX Energy.
At the bottom line on Devon, Piper Sandler analyst Mark Lear writes, “With the recently announced WPX merger, DVN reaffirmed the commitment to improving the balance sheet, increasing shareholder return via a fixed plus variable dividend model and alluded to further efficiencies to be captured through portfolio optimization, which we have expected would be a big added benefit of the deal.”
Lear’s upbeat comments come with an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, and his $21 target price indicates his confidence in a 15% upside over the next 12 months. (To watch Lear’s track record, click here)
Overall, the analyst consensus on DVN is not unanimous, but almost. The Strong Buy consensus rating is supported by 14 Buys against a single Hold.(See DVN stock analysis on TipRanks)
Invitation Homes (INVH)
Next up is Invitation Homes, a major player in the rental home niche. The corona crisis has dampened much economic activity, including home buying, and one unexpected result was strength in the single-family rental home sector. Invitation Homes has a portfolio of high-quality properties in Florida and the Western US, totaling some 80,000 homes.
Invitation saw $459 million in Q3 revenues, a 3.6% year-over-year gain, along with Same Store (that is, rental office location) growth of 4% yoy. The company’s Q3 rental collection rate was 98% of the average historical rate – this was considered a strong result, considering the ongoing economic and public health crisis. The company also paid out its 15-cent common share dividend for the third quarter, which puts the yield at 2%.
Raymond James analyst Buck Horne sees INVH in a strong position to benefit from current trends in housing and employment.
“[We] continue to see ample evidence of a longer-term secular demand shift in favor of SFR homes. Millennial demographics, work-from-home flexibility, de-densification/de-urbanization, and cross-state population migration are all key catalysts. In our view, Invitation’s industry leading scale, improving efficiency, and strengthening balance sheet position the company as a prime beneficiary of these trends,” Horne opined.
Horne’s comments back up his Buy rating, and his $36 target price indicates a 24% upside for 2021. (To watch Horne’s track record, click here)
Invitation Homes has a unanimous Strong Buy consensus rating, supported by 7 Buy reviews. (See INVH stock analysis on TipRanks)
Pinduoduo, Inc. (PDD)
Last but not least is Pinduoduo, the second-largest online marketplace in China. This company had over 585 million active buyers in 2019, putting it just behind the higher profile Alibaba.
China’s e-commerce ecosystem is fast growing, and getting more crowded – companies need to stand out to succeed. Pinduoduo manages this by offering several unique services to its customers, including consumer to manufacturer tools that put end-user preferences in the service provider’s sights; a New Brand Initiative, designed to help emerging merchants brand their products; and an agricultural initiative connecting small farmers with second-tier city markets. The company has built these initiatives around a logistic and data analysis platform, that lets merchants know what their customers want.
The company also works from the buyer end. Pinduoduo has created a ‘virtual bazaar,’ bringing social interaction to online purchasing. Customer can share information on products and prices through social networking, enhancing both the shopping experience and the value-for-money – both are important for getting and keeping customers.
In the third quarter, PDD reported $2.09 billion in total revenue, beating the estimates by 12% and growing 89% year-over-year. The total number of active buyers in the quarter grew 36% year-over-year to reach 731.3 million.
Jailong Shi, 5-star analyst with Nomura, writes of PDD: “What impressed us most was its marketing expense, which rose 46% y-y in 3Q, helping its operating margin improve 26pp y-y to -2%. Competition in China’s ecommerce industry remained intense in 3Q… which make PDD’s results seem more striking in comparison. We believe this set of results was solid proof of PDD’s strong execution and the effectiveness of its subsidizing strategy, which appears to have worked well in cementing the loyalty and engagement of its users…”
Shi rates PDD a Buy, and his $192 price target implies room for ~10% upside potential. (To watch Shi’s track record, click here)
Pinduoduo has 9 recent reviews, breaking down 8 to 1 in favor of Buys versus Hold, making the analyst consensus rating a Strong Buy. (See PDD 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.