Weighing in on the markets from investment firm Oppenheimer, chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus believes that despite rough conditions, the market has more fuel left in the tank.
Remaining “very bullish on this market,” Stoltzfus’ stance is supported by the fact that trillions of dollars are sitting on the sidelines, as well as the hope that the U.S. will be able to tame the beast that is COVID-19. “You’re going to see money beginning to further move out of the bond market, and it makes all the sense in the world to be positioned in equities,” the strategist noted.
Stoltzfus acknowledges that the debate surrounding a second stimulus package, a spike in COVID-19 cases and the U.S. presidential election reflect potential near-term risks, but implies that his previous year-end target for the S&P 500, which landed at 3,500 but was withdrawn due to uncertainty, could still be attainable.
Taking Stoltzfus’ outlook and turning it into concrete recommendations, the pros at Oppenheimer are giving three penny stocks a thumbs up. The firm’s analysts project triple-digit upside potential for all three of these tickers that trade for less than $5 per share.
Opening up the TipRanks’ database, we’ve pulled the details on these names, to find out what makes them compelling despite their risky nature.
STRATA Skin Sciences (SSKN)
Bringing decades of experience and innovative skin science technology to the table, STRATA Skin Sciences provides professionals in dermatology, plastics and aesthetics with better solutions. Even though COVID-19 has hampered the company, Oppenheimer believes that at $1.22, shares appear undervalued.
Representing the firm, analyst Suraj Kalia acknowledges the COVID-19-related headwinds pressured SSKN in Q2. During the quarter, revenue declined by 49% year-over-year to $4 million. Additionally, recurring revenues, an important measure of system utilization and company strategy, fell 52% year-over-year to $2.8 million.
Despite this weak showing, Kalia sees reasons to remain optimistic. Gross domestic recurring billings for July were three times higher than in April. He added, “The company noted that results would have been near 2019 levels ex-hotspots (parts of FL, TX, WA)—impressive given lack of advertising and slightly smaller installed base. Further, several key markets above 2019 levels (despite no DTC ad-driven patient inventory) suggests that SSKN is taking share vs. Biologics."
When it comes to SSKN’s installed base, at the end of Q2, the figure came in at 806 systems, down from 838 at the end of Q1. That being said, procedures did ramp up in June and July. Adding to the good news, the company reached a settlement agreement with Ra Medical, ending two years of court battles.
To this end, Kalia rates SSKN an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $6 price target. Should his thesis play out, a potential twelve-month gain of 395% could be in the cards. (To watch Kalia’s track record, click here)
So, that’s Oppenheimer's view, let’s turn our attention now to rest of the Street: SSKN's 2 Buys and 1 Hold coalesce into a Moderate Buy rating. There’s plenty of upside - 303% to be exact – should the $4.88 average price target be met over the next months. (See SSKN stock analysis on TipRanks)
Mustang Bio Inc. (MBIO)
With its primary focus in chimeric antigen receptor T-cell, or CAR-T, therapy, Mustang Bio wants to improve the lives of patients. After its recent cash refill, Oppenheimer thinks that the $3.07 share price presents investors with a unique buying opportunity.
Writing for the firm, 5-star analyst Mark Breidenbach sees MBIO’s recent equity financing, which yielded $37.2 million in gross proceeds, as a major positive. According to the analyst’s estimates, this move could extend the operational runway into early 2022.
In the near-term, MBIO remains committed to kicking off “two trials of MB-107 in X-SCID, and expects the FDA to clear the CMC component of the INDs in Q4.” Breidenbach noted, “Management reiterated guidance to deliver results from both X-SCID studies —in infants and previously-transplanted patients—in 2H22.”
Looking more closely at the trials, the first is a ~10-patient Phase 2 study of MB-107 in newly-diagnosed infants, which is currently on hold pending CMC clearance. “The trial will run in parallel with a ~15-patient academic-sponsored study at St. Jude, and management believes results from both studies could be combined to support a future BLA filing,” Breidenbach said.
As for the second IND filing, it will evaluate the candidate in previously transplanted X-SCID patients. It should be noted that Breidenbach believes assessing efficacy here will be more difficult than in infants.
On top of this, MBIO enrolled the first patients in its Phase 1/2 study of its CD123 CAR-T in AML, MDS and BPDCN. Data, however, isn’t slated for release until 2H21 at the earliest. The dose escalation in the academic-sponsored trial of MB-105, a PSCA-directed CAR T for treating metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), is also progressing right on track. “Impressively, the first patient tested at 100 million cells achieved a 95% PSA reduction with radiographic disease improvement. We could see updated results from the trial in Q1 2021 followed by a company-sponsored IND in Q4 2021,” Breidenbach stated.
With everything that MBIO has going for it, it makes sense why Breidenbach left an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating and $13 price target on the stock. Should the target be met, a twelve-month gain in the shape of a whopping 333% could be in store. (To watch Breidenbach’s track record, click here)
Turning now to the rest of the Street, it has been relatively quiet when it comes to other analyst activity. Only one other analyst has posted a recent review, but it was also bullish, so the consensus rating is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $10 average price target indicates upside potential of 233%. (See Mustang Bio stock analysis on TipRanks)
VBI Vaccines (VBIV)
Last but not least is VBI Vaccines, which develops cutting-edge vaccines that could potentially address unmet needs in infectious disease and immuno-oncology. As there are multiple potential catalysts on the horizon, Oppenheimer argues that its $3.65 share price reflects an attractive entry point.
After updated results from the Phase 1/2a trial evaluating VBI-1901 in refractory glioblastoma were released, 5-star analyst Leland Gershell is even more confident about VBIV’s prospects.
In the first-recurrent Phase 2a population, there was “improvement from Stable Disease (SD) to a confirmed durable Partial Response (PR) in one patient with this highly aggressive malignancy.” The analyst is now looking forward to six-month OS data at SNO in November, and initial efficacy with GlaxoSmithKline's liposomal AS01B adjuvant, with this arm currently enrolling.
Gershell added, “We have comprehensively revised our financial model to better reflect our view of VBI's prospects as it advances this and other pipeline assets (HepB treatment vaccine, CMV vaccine) as well as SciB-Vac, any/all of which we believe could drive industry partnerships.” He now assigns distinct value contribution to VBI-1901 and VBI-2601, and estimates un-risk-adjusted year 5 sales of $200 million and $475 million, respectively.
Pre-clinical data on its pan-coronavirus vaccine candidate, VBI-2901, in Q3, and its possible clinical entry in Q4 also reflect potential catalysts that could push shares higher, in Gershell’s opinion. It’s also important to mention that its strong showing year-to-date “reflects a growing appreciation for VBIV's prospects,” and April financing should support its operations into 2022.
In line with his optimistic take, Gershell rates VBIV an Outperform (i.e. Buy). Gershell's $8 price target conveys his confidence in VBIV’s ability to climb 128% higher in the next twelve months. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)
What do other analysts have to say? As the stock has received 4 Buy ratings and zero Holds or Sells in the last three months, the word on the Street is that VBIV is a Strong Buy. At $6.50, the average price target brings the upside potential to 85%. (See VBIV 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.