Wall Street’s top analysts pick these stocks as safe bets right now

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A logo of the McDonald’s restaurant is seen in the window with a reflection of Kremlin’s tower in central Moscow, Russia March 9, 2022.
Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

Another month has gone by and the market outlook shows no signs of improvement.

August began on an upbeat note, but ultimately ended in a slump for all three major indexes. After a jobs report that came just below estimates, investors are turning their focus toward the Federal Reserve’s upcoming September meeting.

Now that the near-term economic outlook looks blurry once again, it would be a good idea to pick investment ideas with a longer-term perspective. To that end, here are five stocks chosen by Wall Street’s top pros, according to TipRanks, a service that ranks analysts based on their performance.

Hub Group

Transportation management company Hub Group (HUBG) has been navigating supply-chain disruptions, high freight costs, and other headwinds.

A healthy balance sheet is a strong point that is helping Hub Group innovate even in the face of difficulties. In its quarterly earnings commentary, management affirmed that the company had cash of about $300 million with no net debt. (See Hub Group Stock Investors sentiments on TipRanks)

Recently, Hub Group acquired TAGG Logistics to expand its fulfillment solutions offerings. Cowen analyst Jason Seidl believes that the acquisition will bring in an additional $200 million in full-year revenues this year.

Moreover, Seidl observed that the acquisition or cost increases are not deterring the company from its share repurchase commitments. “In line with commitments made during their 2Q earnings call, HUBG repurchased $35MM of stock in early August and a further $15MM upon reauthorization bringing total repurchases to $50MM for the quarter so far,” the analyst said, raising the price target to $121 from $119 and keeping his buy rating on the stock.

Ranked No. 8 among 8,000 analysts tracked on TipRanks, Seidl has been successful in 70% of his ratings, generating an average return of 25.4%.

McDonald’s

World’s leading fast-food chain McDonald’s (MCD) is next on the list of analysts’ favorite stock picks for this year. The company has learned to keep itself resilient to recession through continued collaborations and experimental menu upgrades to cater to younger customers.

Tigress Financial Partners analyst Ivan Feinseth stands on his buy rating on McDonald’s and even recently raised the price target to $320 from $314. Feinseth believes that continued growth initiatives will lead McDonald’s to compensate for the shutdown of its business in Russia.

The analyst also highlighted that MCD “reinvests its cash flow in new growth initiatives and enhances shareholder returns through ongoing dividend increases and share repurchases.” This helps boost customer retention, new customer additions, and enhances brand loyalty and recognition. (See McDonald’s Dividend Date & History on TipRanks)

Feinseth holds the 189th spot among 8,000 analysts in the TipRanks database. The analyst has seen 61% of his ratings generating profits, bringing 12.4% returns, on average.

Workday

Workday (WDAY) provides enterprise cloud applications for the finance and human resources departments of companies all over the world. The software company recently posted quarterly results. Moreover, the company kept its full-year guidance despite taking present headwinds into consideration. This buoyed the confidence of investors and analysts alike.

After the print, Deutsche Bank analyst Brad Zelnick stayed put on his buy rating on the stock and increased his price target to $230 from $225. “Management continues to acknowledge the uncertain backdrop and is seeing some increased scrutiny of larger deals while contending business remains healthy for what Workday offers,” said Zelnick. (See Workday Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks)

Zelnick is ranked No. 77 among the 8,000 analysts followed on TipRanks. Notably, 69% of the analyst’s ratings have been profitable, generating 17.3% average returns per rating.

Intuit

Another of Zelnick’s favorite stocks is tax preparation software provider Intuit (INTU). A consistent focus on expanding its software capabilities and a solid business model have been helping the company navigate the current macro headwinds.

Intuit also boosted the confidence of its investors when it raised the long-term growth outlook for its Small Business segment. In Zelnick’s words, this improved outlook underscored “its impressive expansion at scale and likely shifting the growth algorithm of the business higher in many investors’ eyes.” (See Intuit Hedge Fund Trading Activity on TipRanks)

However, Zelnick also pointed at a couple of possible setbacks that could affect short-term stock appreciation. For one, aggressive investments in growth initiatives are keeping Intuit from improving its margin growth potential. Even for FY23, Intuit does not have a confident margin growth expectation. Also, the guidance provided by the company does not effectively account for the major economic downturn that is expected soon. However, going by history, Intuit has been resilient to downturns.

“While Intuit is not immune to an incrementally weaker macro environment, forward guidance reaffirms our belief that product leadership, stickiness, and network effects across its leading-edge AI expert platform are durable differentiators,” said Zelnick, maintaining a buy rating, and lifting the price target to $560 from $525.

Marvell Technology

The last stock on our list is semiconductor stalwart Marvell Technology (MRVL). Semiconductor component shortages, which have roiled the market for a long time now, have made things difficult for Marvell.

Nonetheless, Marvell has benefited from the demand for chips to support advanced and emerging technologies. The company’s products support automotive/networking, data center, enterprise networking, consumer and carrier infrastructure markets. (See Marvell Stock Chart, Price History & Graphs on TipRanks)

Needham analyst Quinn Bolton is one of the Marvell bulls. “With a solid history of execution and through the expansion of its product portfolio targeting high margin, high growth cloud/5G/automotive infrastructure markets, Marvell now targets one of the highest long-term revenue growth rates among large capitalization companies in the semiconductor industry,” said Bolton.

The analyst expects that Marvell will achieve more than 30% organic revenue growth in CY22 and around 20% of that in CY23, on the back of new design wins for its 5nm platform. This growth is also expected to be supported by ramped chip supply from its key wafer foundry, substrate, and assembly and test partners. Bolton highlights that this growth expectation is the highest among Marvell’s large-cap peers.

The analyst also expects non-GAAP gross margin to reach 40% by the end of FY24. Needless to say, Bolton reiterated his buy rating on the stock, with a price target of $66.

The analyst is ranked No. 3 among 8,000 analysts on TipRanks’ database, and he has a 67% success rate on his ratings. Moreover, each of his ratings has generated average returns of 41.4%.

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