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Piper Jaffray Top Stocks to Buy for 2014

Lee Jackson

Like most firms that we cover on Wall Street, Piper Jaffray has updated its top names to buy for 2014, and the firm has an extensive market commentary to go along with the changes and additions. The analysts point out that despite a rising interest rate environment, the U.S. federal government shutdown and concerns surrounding a tapering of quantitative easing, the S&P 500 is close to its all-time high of 1,813 reached in November. As they look ahead to 2014, they remain bullish on the equity markets and see a continuation of the secular rotation out of fixed income assets into equities.

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Their thesis is similar to what we are seeing from other firms. They also are similar in they prefer technology, financial, industrials and consumer cyclicals as sectors that should excel in 2014. Since the firm has a very large list of top stocks to buy, we have chosen some of the names that have the biggest upside from where they are trading now to the Piper Jaffray price target.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is at the top of the list of stocks to buy for 2014. One of the reasons the firm is still so bullish on the stock is the underperformance of Apple in 2013. The analysts also continue to look to 2014 as a year for new products, including a larger screen iPhone 6, an iWatch and a television. They also see more near-term catalysts in the return to earnings growth starting in the December quarter and the addition of China Mobile for iPhone. Investors are paid a 2.4% dividend, which some think will be raised in 2014. The Piper Jaffray price target for the stock is $640. The Thomson/First Call target is set at $600. Apple closed Tuesday at $554.99.

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Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) is a top consumer discretionary stock to buy. The analysts believe that the retailer continues to have sufficient opportunity to drive earnings higher through a combination of positive same-store sales growth, gross margin improvement and cost-cutting initiatives in the coming year. Shareholders are paid a 1.6% dividend. The Piper Jaffray target price for the stock is $54, and the consensus target is at $48.50. Best Buy closed Tuesday at $41.22.

Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM) is another top tech name and makes the Piper Jaffray list for the second year in a row. The company's 2013 portfolio expansion included the acquisition of ExactTarget, which rounds out its marketing automation capability, and the introduction of Salesforce1, a leap forward for developing applications that run natively on mobile devices. Piper Jaffray has a $60 price target for the stock, and the consensus is even higher at $65. Salesforce close Tuesday at $52.22.

F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) seems to be a name that many top firms we cover are suggesting for 2014 instead of Cisco Systems. The analysts at Piper believe the company is well positioned to see increasing market share, accelerated product growth and strong earnings performance, which should result in further share appreciation. The price target for 2014 is $102, and the consensus target is $100. F5 closed Tuesday at $84.25.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) is a top biotech name to make the list for 2014. With the approval of its hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, the company is entering a very lucrative and growing market. Acquired when Celgene bought Pharmasset in November of 2011, the drug is an oral nucleotide polymerase inhibitor that interferes with the life-cycle of the hepatitis C virus and suppresses its replication. The Piper Jaffray target for the stock is $91. The consensus price target is posted lower at $85. Gilead ended trading Tuesday at $70.08.

GameStop Corp. (GME) should be a large benefactor of the two new gaming consoles released by Microsoft and Sony. The Piper Jaffray team says the new dip in the stock makes for a perfect entry point for investors looking to buy. Unlike the software publishers that require a large installed base of hardware in which to sell games, GameStop sells new and used software and hardware and, therefore, will see an immediate positive impact from the huge holiday console sales. Shareholders receive a 2.2% dividend. The Piper Jaffray target price is $61, and the consensus is at $60. GameStop closed Tuesday at $48.98.

Novavax Inc. (NVAX) makes the Piper Jaffray list and is also a top stock to buy at Lazard and FBR Capital, and it made our five big analysts stock picks for 2014 list. This clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company uses recombinant nanoparticle technology to develop vaccines for a wide variety of infectious diseases. The company presently has six vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials, with a seventh (rabies) being readied for a Phase I study later this year. The Piper Jaffray price target is $7. The consensus estimate is at $4, but the stock closed Tuesday at $4.47.

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) stays on the list at Piper Jaffray for 2014. With treatments for everything from macular degeneration to colorectal cancer, the company continues to exploit an extraordinary pipeline. The company is viewed by many Wall Street firms as a leading candidate to be one the next generation biotech large cap leaders. Piper Jaffray has placed a huge $376 price target on the stock. The consensus is at $339.50. Regeneron closed Monday at $261.88.

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) continues to grow its brand and its store count. Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Seattle, the company has aggressively expanded from a single store in Seattle's Pike Place Market to more than 18,000 stores across 60 countries, which are operated by licensees, franchisees or Starbucks itself. Investors receive a 1.3% dividend. The Piper Jaffray target for this top consumer discretionary name is $89. The consensus target is higher at $90. Starbucks closed Tuesday at $76.09.

Western Digital Corp. (WDC) is another top tech name on the Piper Jaffray list. While acknowledging that the stock had a tremendous run in 2013, the analysts view the migration of data to the cloud as the top secular growth driver for Western Digital. The public cloud market is expected to largely outpace growth of the overall storage market through 2017, from both a revenue and capacity perspective. Investors are paid a 1.5% dividend. The Piper Jaffray target price is $81, and the consensus is at $78. Western Digital closed Tuesday at $83.40.

Many of the stocks in the Piper Jaffray list are leaders in their respective categories and sectors. With a possible correction on tap for 2014, it makes sense for investors to look for the top names in their respective areas. This may lessen the portfolio blow should a major correction take place.

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