Morgan Stanley Bets on These 3 Stocks; Sees Over 40% Upside
Did the stock market’s epic rally just need a little breather? The last few weeks have seen stocks experience their first meaningful correction since the bull market kicked off in March. Now, the question swirling around the Street is, will the rally pick back up again, or is more downside on the way?According to Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. equity strategist Mike Wilson, uncertainty regarding the presidential election and stalemate on the next stimulus package could lead to declines in September and October. “On the correction, there’s still downside as markets digest the risk of congressional gridlock on the next fiscal deal. While we think something will ultimately get done, it will likely take another few weeks to get it over the goal line,” he noted.However, Wilson argues the recent volatility in no way signals the end of the current bull market. “We think this correction is just that, a correction in a new bull market. It’s normal for markets to pullback after such an incredible run like we’ve experienced since March. Furthermore, when a new bull market coincides with a new economic cycle, the bull market usually runs for years, not months,” the strategist explained.Taking Wilson’s outlook to heart, our focus shifted to three stocks getting a thumbs up from Morgan Stanley. As the firm’s analysts see over 50% upside potential in store for each, we used TipRanks’ database to get the full scoop.Akero Therapeutics (AKRO)With its innovative medicines designed to restore metabolic balance and halt the progression of NASH, a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Akero Therapeutics wants to address the unmet medical needs of patients from all over the world. Based on the strength of its lead candidate, Morgan Stanley is pounding the table.Representing the firm, 5-star analyst Matthew Harrison tells clients that AKRO’s treatment for NASH, efruxifermin (EFX), has a “best-in-class profile.” EFX is the company’s lead asset and was designed to mimic the biological activity of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), which regulates multiple metabolic pathways and cellular processes, to reduce liver fat and inflammation, reverse fibrosis, increase insulin sensitivity and improve lipoproteins.According to Harrison, NASH is a complex disease, with patients usually having multiple co-morbidities like obesity, type-2 diabetes, increased triglycerides, increased LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol. “A promising therapeutic solution would not only treat the multiple components of NASH but would also have an acceptable side effect profile given the potential co-morbidities,” the analyst explained.That’s where AKRO’s therapy comes in. “In June, Akero presented best-in-class data from its Phase 2a study. This data indicates that EFX improved the two liver histological endpoints recommended by the FDA along with resulting in weight loss, improving cardiovascular health (increasing good HDL cholesterol, decreasing triglycerides, not raising bad LDL cholesterol), and improving factors related to controlling blood glucose levels. This benefit/risk profile beats the competition,” Harrison stated.Looking at the indication as a whole, Harrison views NASH as a very large opportunity given that roughly 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from the condition.The analyst, however, acknowledges there are commercial hurdles. One of these is the fact that “NASH is currently undiagnosed in all but a very small percentage of the prevalent pool since diagnosis currently requires an invasive liver biopsy.” Therefore, along with demonstrating a positive benefit/risk profile, AKRO will need to find patients and secure payer support should the candidate receive FDA approval, in Harrison’s opinion.That said, Harrison believes AKRO is up for the task. “We believe that given EFX’s clean safety profile and broad-based effects, Akero will likely largely overcome these commercial hurdles,” he commented.Harrison added, “Importantly, since Akero’s treatment is injectable, we only assume the drug will penetrate into the population of the most sick patients where there are currently at least 400,000 patients diagnosed and seeking treatment in the U.S.” To this end, he assigns a 60% probability of success, and estimates unadjusted peak sales for the U.S. and the EU will land at $4.5 billion.Based on all of the above, Harrison rates AKRO an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $70 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month gain of 93% could be in the cards. (To watch Harrison’s track record, click here)Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 6, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: AKRO is a Strong Buy. Given the $58.50 average price target, shares could rise 61% in the next year. (See AKRO stock analysis on TipRanks)TransDigm Group (TDG)Next up we have TransDigm Group, which is one of the top producers, designers and suppliers of highly engineered aerospace components, systems and subsystems. Its products are used on nearly all commercial and military aircrafts in service today. Given its ability to weather the COVID-19 storm, Morgan Stanley sees a bright future ahead.Morgan Stanley analyst Kristine Liwag stated, “We view TransDigm as the most defensible business model in commercial aerospace.” However, this is not to say the company hasn’t been confronted with serious challenges.Over the past few years, management has had to grapple with how to price its defense business, the sustainability of its pricing strategy in aerospace, the durability of its levered balance sheet and the ability to weather a downturn. That said, Liwag remains optimistic going forward. “TDG has overcome short thesis after short thesis in the past few years and we do not expect these concerns to repeat,” she noted.According to Liwag, TDG’s “ability to hold on to margins during a global pandemic” conveys its operating strength. To this end, her estimate for EBITDA margins is well above the rest of the Street’s. The analyst also points out that the company cut its SG&A expense by $89 million year-over-year in fiscal Q3 2020. “We assume the company will retain at least half of those savings, with the remainder returning in the form of variable selling expenses,” she said.Liwag added, “We are positive on TransDigm, particularly as recovery in global air traffic would be favorable for TransDigm’s core profit maker, the aftermarket. Additionally, we view it positively that TDG has the means to acquire weaker players.”Back in April, management raised $1.5 billion of additional debt to trim liquidity risks and provide an extra cushion. “A large debt load is part of management’s strategy to provide private equity like return for its shareholders. Historically, the company has used debt to acquire businesses with similar attributes to TDG’s portfolio of 90% proprietary products and 75% sole sourced. If passenger air traffic continues to normalize, we would expect TDG to use its incremental capital to acquire struggling businesses that fit its strategy,” Liwag commented.All of this prompted Liwag to leave her bullish call and $772 price target unchanged. This target conveys her confidence in TDG’s ability to climb 48% higher in the next year. (To watch Liwag’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 7 Buys and 5 Holds have been published in the last three months. Therefore, TDG gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. Based on the $500.58 average price target, shares are poised to stay range-bound for now. (See TDG stock analysis on TipRanks)Cemex SAB (CX)Cemex counts itself as one of the leading players in the building materials industry, with the company manufacturing and distributing cement, ready-mix concrete and aggregates. As its risk/reward profile has just gotten more positive, now could be the time to snap up shares, so says Morgan Stanley.Covering the stock for Morgan Stanley, analyst Nikolaj Lippmann believes that CX’s bullish guidance for the third quarter and FY20, which was significantly ahead of consensus, was “the catalyst that builds a bridge to a favorable risk-reward shift.” On top of this, the stock is trading at 6.4 2020e EV/EBITDA, which is cheap compared to its historical performance and its peers, according to the analyst.That being said, Lippmann argues “CX is mainly a good, strong deleveraging story with a call option on what could be an exceptional U.S. cement market if the U.S. Congress approves an infrastructure package in 2021… If we get a U.S. infrastructure package beyond 2020, it would add icing to the cake, we think, and take the market from good to possibly great.”Although a large multi-year package is dependent upon the outcomes of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, even in the base case, Lippmann expects cement to show pricing power in the U.S.It should be noted that Lippmann thinks it’s possible the next year will be relatively uneventful, but in that case, he expects the industry to pause at 90% capacity utilization and grow from there. On top of this, pricing in Mexico has been holding up. This “limits the downside risk materially and helps skew the risk-reward positively,” in Lippmann’s opinion.What else is working in CX’s favor? The cement demand year-to-date has pleasantly surprised Lippmann, with upside seen during the first stage of the pandemic. He points to DIY and Department of Transportation maintenance work during periods of low traffic, and strong residential construction as the drivers of this demand.Everything that CX has going for it convinced Lippmann to rate the stock an Overweight (i.e. Buy). Along with the call, he attached a $6 price target, suggesting 50% upside potential. (To watch Lippmann’s track record, click here)Turning to the rest of the analyst community, opinions are split almost evenly. 6 Buys and 5 Holds add up to a Moderate Buy consensus rating. At $4.16, the average price target implies 4% upside potential. (See Cemex stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.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.
Corrections officer called suicidal inmate a ‘crazy n-word,’ Georgia sheriff says
A Georgia corrections officer will soon be out of work after allegedly using an anti-Black slur against an inmate.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said Sunday he intends to fire Officer Gregory Hubert Brown after he called an inmate on suicide watch a “crazy n-word,” according to a department news release.
Brown reportedly made the remark in front of a fellow corrections officer and other inmates at the Clayton County jail.
Hill suspended Brown without pay and said he “will be fired within the next 72 hours by order of the Sheriff in compliance with civil service guideline.”
Few other details about the incident were released but it marks the third time Brown has been fired from a corrections officer position since 2010, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council records.
He once worked at the Coweta County Prison but was fired for workplace violence in 2010 after he reportedly shoved and hurled threats at a fellow officer, according to the newspaper. Brown’s second firing came in 2012 when, a case summary said, the then-Clayton County jail officer locked his colleagues in cells with inmates, the AJC reported.
Bose Home Speaker 450 is on sale at HSN
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Hedge Funds Are Coming Back To Nokia Corporation (NOK)
Insider Monkey has processed numerous 13F filings of hedge funds and successful value investors to create an extensive database of hedge fund holdings. The 13F filings show the hedge funds’ and successful investors’ positions as of the end of the second quarter. You can find articles about an individual hedge fund’s trades on numerous financial news websites. However, in this article we will take a look at their collective moves over the last 5 years and analyze what the smart money thinks of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) based on that data and determine whether they were really smart about the stock.
Is Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) a healthy stock for your portfolio? Money managers were turning bullish. The number of long hedge fund bets rose by 3 recently. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) was in 26 hedge funds’ portfolios at the end of June. The all time high for this statistics is 27. Our calculations also showed that NOK isn’t among the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds (click for Q2 rankings and see the video for a quick look at the top 5 stocks). Video: Watch our video about the top 5 most popular hedge fund stocks.
In the 21st century investor’s toolkit there are several methods stock market investors employ to evaluate stocks. Some of the best methods are hedge fund and insider trading signals. Our experts have shown that, historically, those who follow the best picks of the best investment managers can beat the market by a significant amount (see the details here).
John Rogers of Ariel Investments
At Insider Monkey we scour multiple sources to uncover the next great investment idea. For example, legal marijuana is one of the fastest growing industries right now, so we are checking out stock pitches like “the Starbucks of cannabis” to identify the next tenbagger. We go through lists like the 10 most profitable companies in the world to pick the best large-cap stocks to buy. Even though we recommend positions in only a tiny fraction of the companies we analyze, we check out as many stocks as we can. We read hedge fund investor letters and listen to stock pitches at hedge fund conferences. You can subscribe to our free daily newsletter on our website to get excerpts of these letters in your inbox. Keeping this in mind we’re going to take a look at the recent hedge fund action surrounding Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK).
How have hedgies been trading Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK)?
At the end of June, a total of 26 of the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were bullish on this stock, a change of 13% from the first quarter of 2020. By comparison, 24 hedge funds held shares or bullish call options in NOK a year ago. With the smart money’s sentiment swirling, there exists a few noteworthy hedge fund managers who were upping their stakes significantly (or already accumulated large positions).
Among these funds, Ariel Investments held the most valuable stake in Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK), which was worth $69.2 million at the end of the third quarter. On the second spot was Sirios Capital Management which amassed $27.7 million worth of shares. Millennium Management, Capital Growth Management, and Portolan Capital Management were also very fond of the stock, becoming one of the largest hedge fund holders of the company. In terms of the portfolio weights assigned to each position Boardman Bay Capital Management allocated the biggest weight to Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK), around 2.98% of its 13F portfolio. Sirios Capital Management is also relatively very bullish on the stock, designating 2.26 percent of its 13F equity portfolio to NOK.
As aggregate interest increased, key money managers have jumped into Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) headfirst. Capital Growth Management, managed by Ken Heebner, initiated the largest position in Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK). Capital Growth Management had $14.5 million invested in the company at the end of the quarter. Thyra Zerhusen’s Fairpointe Capital also made a $8.7 million investment in the stock during the quarter. The other funds with brand new NOK positions are Larry Chen and Terry Zhang’s Tairen Capital, Paul Hondros’s AlphaOne Capital Partners, and Kevin McCarthy’s Breakline Capital.
Let’s check out hedge fund activity in other stocks – not necessarily in the same industry as Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) but similarly valued. These stocks are Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc (NYSE:ZBH), Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE:ROK), Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE:WCN), Telefonica S.A. (NYSE:TEF), Otis Worldwide Corporation (NYSE:OTIS), Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST), and Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS). This group of stocks’ market valuations are closest to NOK’s market valuation.
[table] Ticker, No of HFs with positions, Total Value of HF Positions (x1000), Change in HF Position ZBH,62,752893,11 ROK,50,546946,13 WCN,39,720610,6 TEF,6,9842,-1 OTIS,56,2110419,52 FAST,34,633636,0 BCS,8,35407,-5 Average,36.4,687108,10.9 [/table]
View table here if you experience formatting issues.
As you can see these stocks had an average of 36.4 hedge funds with bullish positions and the average amount invested in these stocks was $687 million. That figure was $219 million in NOK’s case. Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc (NYSE:ZBH) is the most popular stock in this table. On the other hand Telefonica S.A. (NYSE:TEF) is the least popular one with only 6 bullish hedge fund positions. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) is not the least popular stock in this group but hedge fund interest is still below average. Our overall hedge fund sentiment score for NOK is 54.7. Stocks with higher number of hedge fund positions relative to other stocks as well as relative to their historical range receive a higher sentiment score. This is a slightly negative signal and we’d rather spend our time researching stocks that hedge funds are piling on. Our calculations showed that top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds returned 41.4% in 2019 and outperformed the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by 10.1 percentage points. These stocks gained 21.3% in 2020 through September 25th and surpassed the market by 17.7 percentage points. Unfortunately NOK wasn’t nearly as popular as these 10 stocks (hedge fund sentiment was quite bearish); NOK investors were disappointed as the stock returned -14.1% since Q2 and underperformed the market. If you are interested in investing in large cap stocks with huge upside potential, you should check out the top 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds as most of these stocks already outperformed the market in 2020.
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Disclosure: None. This article was originally published at Insider Monkey.
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