Exterior of a redesigned Chipotle restaurant
Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill
With market conditions as uncertain as they are now, it may be prudent to have a long-term approach and turn to the experts for guidance.
Here are five stocks chosen by Wall Street’s top analysts, according to TipRanks, a platform that ranks analysts based on their past performances.
Wynn Resorts (WYNN) reported a higher-than-anticipated adjusted loss per share for the fourth quarter. Nonetheless, investors were pleased with the management’s commentary about better times ahead, backed by continued strength in Las Vegas and the reopening of Macao following China’s stringent Covid lockdowns.
Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli thinks that the future margin profile of Wynn Macau is “underappreciated.” Moreover, he expects the company’s financial leverage reduction to be “swift and screen well throughout 2023.”
“Given the resurgence of Macau, the continued strength and near term visibility in Las Vegas, and what we view as stability at Encore Boston Harbor, our estimates for 2023 and 2024 are higher across each of the 3 geographies,” Santarelli said.
Santarelli also noted that the stock’s valuation is reasonable, as the company is still in the early stages of the Macao recovery cycle. Santarelli reiterated a buy rating and raised his price target for Wynn to $128 from $106. (See Wynn Blogger Opinions & Sentiment on TipRanks)
Santarelli’s recommendation is worthy of consideration as he ranks 26th among more than 8,000 analysts tracked by TipRanks. Moreover, 67% of his ratings have been successful, generating a 21.7% average return per rating.
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill’s (CMG) lower-than-anticipated fourth-quarter results reflected the impact of inflation on consumer spending. However, the company assured investors that transaction trends turned positive in 2023, setting its comparable sales growth estimate in the high-single-digit range for the first quarter.
Chipotle plans to further expand its footprint, which stood at 3,187 restaurant locations at the end of 2022. It aims to open 255 to 285 new locations in 2023.
Baird analyst David Tarantino, who ranks 320 out of 8,346 analysts on TipRanks, lowered his 2023 earnings per share estimate following the lackluster fourth-quarter results and a lower-than-projected margin outlook for the first quarter. Nevertheless, Tarantino remains bullish on Chipotle.
“We came away with a view that management is taking the appropriate operational steps to drive structural improvements in traffic as 2023 unfolds, and we expect signs of progress on this front to help resolve the pricing/traffic debate and return the focus toward the significant economic value CMG can create via high-ROIC unit expansion,” Tarantino said
The analyst reiterated a buy rating on Chipotle stock and raised the price target to $1,900 from $1,800. Sixty-six percent of Tarantino’s ratings have generated profits, with each one bringing in a 10.6% average return. (See CMG Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks)
Social media behemoth Meta Platforms (META) is next on our list. Meta has rebounded this year after a disastrous run in 2022. Its problems last year were due to a slowdown in online advertising spend and the mounting losses of the company’s Reality Labs division — which includes its metaverse projects.
Despite weak earnings, the stock spiked in reaction to recent results, as investors cheered Meta’s cost control measures and a $40 billion increase in its share repurchase authorization. Meta already had nearly $11 billion remaining under its existing buyback plan.
Tigress Financial Partners analyst Ivan Feinseth highlighted that Meta’s “most valuable asset” is its huge and growing user base. Daily Active People or DAP (the number of people using at least one of the company’s core products — Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger, every day) rose 5% to 2.96 billion in the fourth quarter.
Furthermore, Feinseth projects that Meta’s performance will be fueled by a “new, more cost-efficient data center structure” that is competent in supporting artificial intelligence (AI) and non-AI workloads.
Feinseth increased his price target for Meta to $285 from $260 and reiterated a buy rating as he believes it can outperform rivals due to its massive user base and the ability to generate significantly higher returns for advertisers.
Feinseth currently stands at #126 among over 8,300 analysts on TipRanks. Moreover, 65% of his ratings have been successful, with each generating a 13.5% average return. (See Meta Platforms Hedge Fund Trading Activity on TipRanks)
Digital transformation, the accelerated shift to the cloud and geopolitical tensions have triggered an increase in cyber threats, driving demand for cybersecurity companies like CyberArk (CYBR).
CyberArk, a leading cybersecurity company, has successfully transitioned from perpetual licenses to a subscription model — which has led to more reliable and predictable revenues.
Mizuho analyst Gregg Moskowitz noted the impressive 45% growth in CyberArk’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) as of 2022’s end and ARR growth outlook in the range of 28% to 30% by the end of 2023. The analyst also pointed out that CyberArk ended 2022 with more than 1,300 customers generating over $100,000 in ARR, up 40% compared to the prior year.
Moskowitz reiterated a buy rating on CyberArk stock and a $175 price target, saying, “We continue to view CYBR as a primary beneficiary of a heightened threat landscape that has amplified the need for privileged access and identity management.” He is also optimistic that CyberArk’s transition to a recurring revenue model will drive better financials.
Moskowitz holds the 236th position among more than 8,000 analysts on TipRanks. His ratings have a 58% success rate, with each delivering an average return of 13.8%. (See CyberArk Stock Chart on TipRanks)
Semiconductor company Micron (MU) has been under pressure in recent quarters due to lower demand in several end-markets, particularly PCs. In the first quarter of fiscal 2023 (ended Dec. 1), the company’s revenue plunged 47% due to lower shipments and a steep decline in prices.
In response to tough business conditions, Micron has slashed its capital expenditure and has been taking initiatives to reduce costs. In December, the company announced that it would cut its workforce by nearly 10% in 2023 and suspend bonuses for the year. It has also suspended share repurchases for now.
Despite the ongoing challenges, Mizuho analyst Vijay Rakesh upgraded Micron to buy from hold and raised his price target to $72 from $48. Rakesh acknowledged that near-term headwinds remain due to high inventories, lower demand for PCs, handsets, servers and lower memory pricing. Nonetheless, he thinks that we are approaching a “cyclical bottom.”
Rakesh explained, “We believe memory sets up better for 2H23/2024E with supply/capex cuts, inventory correction behind, and a better pricing environment.”
Rakesh ranks 73 out of more than 8,300 analysts on TipRanks, with a success rate of 61%. Each of his ratings has delivered a 19.7% average return. (See Micron Financial Statements on TipRanks)