Wall street bulls are becoming an endangered species, or so says the Financial Times. In a worrying sign for stocks, investors are increasing their cash balances, a move that supports the flood of bearish outlooks out there right now. Most analysts have a fairly pessimistic view of the market, with many calling for a recession and market downturn by the end of 2020. Precious few have bullish views, leaving Krishna Memani, CIO of OppenheimerFunds, in a unique spot in that he thinks we are in the middle of a 20-year bull market.
FINSUM: Most everyone has gotten very bearish in their medium term outlooks. Counter indicator?
One of the big challenges in digesting earnings is trying to parse through what are and what are not material statements made by company executives on earnings calls. Executives at publicly traded companies have become experts at deflecting tough questions and use sophisticated and evasive language to obfuscate the direction of their companies. However, American Century Investments is debuting a new piece of language processing software which can intelligently understand the commentary and identify material versus immaterial statements, or what they call “BS”. The software is highly sophisticated in spotting not just key words, but patterns and relationships between statements. It cites four areas that can help it find BS: omission, “spin”, obfuscation, and blame.
FINSUM: This seems as though it could be a useful tool, especially as it is more sophisticated than just using key words (which people can easily adapt to).
Being journalists ourselves, we are always on the lookout for the best content for our readers, including who to read for stock calls. That led us to a site, called TipRanks, which ranks all the equity research analysts on Wall Street. One of the major components of their rankings is their average market return per recommendation. The top ten analysts from returns are: Richard Davis, Cannacord Genuity (42.7% return per recommendation); Ross MacMillan, RBC Capital; Joseph Foresi, Cantor Fitzgerald; Matthew Hedberg, RBC Capital; Glenn Greene, Oppenheimer; Brian Schwartz, Oppenheimer; John Difucci, Jefferies; Brent Bracelin, KeyBanc; Gerard Cassidy, RBC Capital; and Brian Peterson, Raymond James.
FINSUM: This list, and TipRanks in general, is a great way to separate value from noise in all those equity research comments.
We thought our readers might like to see some high conviction stock buys from top ranking sell-side analysts. All of the following seven picks are rated a “strong buy” by top ranked analysts and have price targets 20% or more above the current price. The picks come from a wide variety of sectors and include: Turtle Beach (HEAR), Alibaba (BABA), Cigna Corp (CI), Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Amarin Corp (AMRN), and Teladoc Health (TDOC).
FINSUM: These are diverse picks both in terms of geography and sector. Amarin and Alibaba are the most interesting for us. The former because of buyout rumors by Pfizer, and the latter because of its strong growth characteristics.
Value stocks have been in a slump for a decade, with growth consistently outperforming. That acknowledged, there is still something to be said for buying beaten up stocks, which seem to have less downside than highly valued growth names. But how to do it? Try an old stock picker’s favorite: buy the ten stocks with the highest dividend yields in the Dow, a strategy which has historically performed well and is called the “Dogs of the Dow”. These stocks tend to have great dividend yields, and generally outperform the index as a whole. The bottom ten right now are: Verizon, IBM, Pfizer, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Merck, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Procter & Gamble, and JP Morgan.
FINSUM: This sounds like a solid bet, though because of the group, you are buying them with no real catalyst.