Goldman Sachs has a special rating for stocks which it holds in particularly high regard. This is called a ‘Conviction Buy’ rating. The firm’s prized list of Conviction Buy stocks reveals the stock picks that the investment bank's research team expects to outperform. That’s particularly useful for investors looking for fresh investing inspiration in the face of current market volatility.
Here we take a closer look at four stocks that have made it to the firm’s list of top stock ideas. Does the rest of the Street have an equally bullish outlook on these names? Interestingly, all of the stocks covered have received only buy ratings from the Street in the last three months. So no hold or sell ratings here. Let’s take a closer look at what’s keeping analysts on-side now…
Shares in this cable giant are up 37% year-to-date, and analysts believe further growth lies ahead. Ten analysts have published recent buy ratings on Comcast (CMCSA – Get Report), with Goldman Sachs’ Brett Feldman going so far as to double-upgrade CMCSA all the way from Hold to Conviction Buy. Thanks to "healthy fundamentals across its key businesses”, Feldman foresees "strong growth" over the next three years with annual earnings growth of 11%, free cash flow per share of 12% and dividends of 15%.
At the same time, five-star Oppenheimer analyst Timothy Horan has just upgraded Comcast from Hold to Buy. Like Feldman, he has a $54 price target, which translates into upside potential of 16%. So what’s the reason behind his bullish transition on the stock? The analyst referred to a triple whammy of broadband strength, underestimated ad revenue, and secular cable improvements.
“Fundamentals are healthy in the near-term, and we think 2020 is setting up to be a strong year.” Horan stated. “Cable margins should continue to expand as revenue mix shifts to higher margin broadband (estimated 70% adj. EBITDA margins) vs. video (estimated 20% margins).”
Voya Financial Inc
On September 12, Goldman Sachs’ Alex Scott upgraded VOYA from Buy to Conviction Buy, citing three key reasons: 1) the possibility of a takeover; 2) potential upside to capital return from life redundant reserve refinancing; and 3) exposure to low interest rates more fully reflected in the valuation.
Indeed, the analyst’s Street-high price target of $85 indicates substantial upside potential from current levels of 56%. Note that shares have already surged 35% year-to-date.
Meanwhile Morgan Stanley’s Nigel Dally has just met up with Voya management. He left the meetings reassured of his bullish outlook on the company, reiterating his buy rating and $63 price target.
The analyst stated "We continue to highlight Voya as one of the most compelling investment opportunities in the life and annuity industry following time on the road through Europe with management. Despite the somewhat disappointing second quarter earnings and lower earnings run-rate, we feel the future prospects for attractive growth and ROE expansion are stronger than what is reflected in the current stock price."
All eighteen analysts covering Mastercard (MA – Get Report) rate the stock a buy right now. But Goldman Sachs has gone one step further. The firm’s James Schneider has now kept a Conviction Buy rating on Mastercard for over a year. He upgraded the stock to best idea status on September 17 2018, writing at the time that Mastercard is catalyzing the next growth horizon in business-to-business (B2B) payments.
"We believe the B2B market represents the next growth horizon for the payments industry and think Mastercard is the best positioned given its multifaceted product approach," Schneider said in a research note. In fact, Goldman Sachs has calculated that B2B payments will represent a whopping $950 billion annualized opportunity for payment stocks.
More recently, Schneider reiterated his MA buy rating after management reaffirmed its 2019 guidance. Following the recent earnings call, the analyst told investors that he is optimistic the stock will continue to soar. Shares are already up 46% year-to-date- while the average analyst price target indicates a further 15% upside lies ahead.
According to the Street, Bio-Rad (BIO – Get Report) offers attractive exposure to Life Science Tools at a reasonable valuation. With annual sales of $2.2 billion, BIO is among the top five life science companies in the world. And now Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Donnelly has upgraded Bio-Rad to the Conviction Buy list, citing improving execution and undervalued fundamentals.
Looking forward, Donnelly is confident BIO can outperform second half guidance due to strong organic growth, easing comps, margin expansion initiatives, limited maco headwinds and capital deployment. He maintained a $400 price target- indicating 20% upside potential from current levels.
In the last three months, only one other analyst has published a rating on BIO stock. That analyst is Barclays’ Jack Meehan. His buy rating comes with a $380 price target- up from $350 previously.
“We continue to believe that Bio-Rad has substantial long-term opportunity ahead, and believe there is good visibility into high-teens EPS growth” comments Meehan. He made the call after Bio-Rad delivered solid 2Q19 results, with a notable EPS beat and strong operational discipline. Year-to-date, the stock has rallied 45%.