In the past week, investors have had to cope with multiple conflicting signals from the markets. The April jobs report, which was expected to show almost 1 million new positions for the month, showed only 266,000. The official unemployment number ticked upward slightly to 6.1%, and hourly wages also gained – by 0.7%. That last would seem to be a positive – except that, combined with the massive government stimulus injecting cash into the economy – higher wages are seen as a portent of inflation.
At first glance, it seems like an environment that would have investors cautious. Except – the Fed has signaled that it will not be winding down its easy money policies. Low interest rates have helped to fire up the bull market engine in recent years, for two reasons. First, it keeps the cost of credit low, making it easy to leverage all sorts of purchases – cars, homes… even stocks. And second, with rates low, bond yields have been unable to make any significant rise. For investors seeking a return, this makes stocks the place to go.
It also creates an environment that’s conducive to IPO events. Markets have been on a steady, long-term upward trend for months; the S&P 500 has gained 44% over the last 12 months. With a return potential like that, it’s no wonder that companies are turning to the public trading markets to raise capital. When it comes to equities, a rising tide truly will lift all boats.
This brings us to JPMorgan. The banking firm’s stock analysts have been looking for the equities primed to gain in current conditions. And they’ve tapped two stocks new to the public markets as likely to jump 80% or more in coming months – a solid return that investors should note.
After running both tickers through TipRanks’ database, we found out that the rest of the Street is also standing squarely in the bull camp as each boasts a “Strong Buy” analyst consensus.
LAVA Therapeutics (LVTX)
We’ll start with a Netherlands-based biotech firm. LAVA Therapeutics has a focus on cancer treatments, and is working to develop what it calls gamma-delta bispecific T cell engagers. These compounds are intended to activate the innate and adaptive immune systems, using the body’s own response to fight tumors.
LAVA’s pipeline includes four proprietary compounds, and a fifth that is being investigated in combination with Janssen. All five drug candidates are in preclinical trials. The leading candidate, LAVA-051, is scheduled to begin a Phase 1/2a clinical trial in the first half of this year, while a second candidate, LAVA-1207, will begin a Phase 1/2a trial during 2H21. These drug candidates are being developed as treatments for multiple myeloma and prostate cancer, respectively.
LVTX shares entered the public markets on March 25, in an IPO that raised $100.5 million. The shares started trading at $15, and saw 6.7 million shares hit the market.
Among the bulls is JPM analyst Jessica Fye, who likes the fundamental of this newly public stock. Fye rates LVTX an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and her $22 price target implies a robust upside potential of ~86% for the year ahead. (To watch Fye’s track record, click here)
"Our Overweight rating is based on our positive view of the company’s proprietary platform, gamma-delta bsTCE, which redirects a specific group of T cells called gamma-delta T cells towards tumor cells. We see LAVA’s off-the-shelf bsTCEs, which can conditionally activate gamma-delta T cells in a tumor/antigen directed manner, as differentiated, potentially leading to a safer therapy and more durable benefit. To the extent that initial data for lead asset LAVA-051 begins to derisk the platform, we see upside for shares as soon as early 2022," Fye noted.
In its short time on the public market, LAVA’s unique approach to cancer treatment has attracted notice from three Wall Street biotech analysts – and all three agree that this is a stock to buy, making the Strong Buy consensus rating unanimous. The shares are trading for $11.80, and their $23.67 average price target is even more bullish Fye allows, suggesting an upside of ~100% in the next 12 months. (See LVTX stock analysis on TipRanks)
From biotech, let’s shift gears to online content. The net has given content creators a nearly unlimited field to work in, and Zhihu operates in the Chinese online content market. The company’s website is a question-and-answer forum, on the model of Quora, allowing users to pose questions to the community or offer replies.
A look at some of the company’s numbers shows its size. By the end of December last year, Zhihu had a total of 43.1 million content creators, who has posted over 315 million questions and answers. The monthly average users (MAU), a key metric for any website, increased from 43.1 million in 4Q19 to 75.7 million in 4Q20.
Zhihu held a US IPO on March 26, to raise capital for further operations and expansion. The company put 55 million shares on the American public markets, at $9.50 each. The IPO raised $522.5 million in gross proceeds, and Zhihu now shows a market cap of $4.58 billion.
In their early trading, ZH shares faced pressure after a Securities and Exchange Commission ruling on accounting regulations. US law requires that accounting firms permit US regulators to review the financial audits of overseas companies, under threat of potential delisting from the US equity markets. The SEC ruling promises stricter enforcement of this provision. Even under this pressure, however, the Zhihu IPO was the third-largest by a Chinese company in the US markets so far this year.
In an initiation of coverage report on Zhihu, JPM analyst Binbin Ding notes several factors that bode well for the stock, with two in particular standing out: “(1) Differentiated positioning. Unlike online content communities that are mostly entertainment-oriented, Zhihu is known for its depth of content and is recognized as the most trustworthy online content community in China (CIC survey). This positioning makes it the go-to platform for users seeking quality answers. (2) Diversified monetization models, including ads, membership, content-commerce solution, ecommerce and education. In particular, we believe Zhihu’s content-commerce solutions is an innovative model with significant potential growth upside…”
Ding summed up, "We expect Zhihu to see a 112% top-line CAGR over 2020 to ’22E, driven by a 35% traffic CAGR and a 57% monetization CAGR. Such growth rates make Zhihu the fastest-growing digital content operator in our coverage universe."
To this end, Ding gives ZH shares an Overweight (i.e. Buy) rating, along with a $16 price target that suggests room for an impressive 96% growth potential this year. (To watch Ding’s track record, click here)
Ding's bullish stance on ZH is in line with Wall Street’s view. The stock has a Strong Buy consensus rating, based on 3 Buy ratings set in recent weeks. The shares are trading for $8.15, and their $15.23 average price target suggests ~87% upside for the year ahead. (See ZH 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.