While macro uncertainty continues to distract investors, it is prudent to focus on companies that are well-positioned to navigate challenges with their solid execution and deliver attractive growth over the long term by capitalizing on secular trends.
Here are five such stocks chosen by Wall Street’s top analysts, according to TipRanks, a platform that ranks analysts based on their past performance.
First, we will look at cybersecurity solutions provider Zscaler (ZS). Earlier this month, the company reported its fiscal fourth-quarter results and outlook, which topped Wall Street’s expectations. That said, management cautioned that deals are taking longer to close due to a challenging macro backdrop.
Praising Zscaler’s performance, TD Cowen analyst Shaul Eyal said that the rising demand for the company’s Zero Trust solutions and disciplined spending drove the fourth-quarter outperformance.
The analyst noted that over the past seven quarters, Zscaler’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) has doubled to $2 billion from $1 billion. Other interesting points that the analyst focused on included the company’s large deals, a strong pipeline, and growing federal contracts. (Zscaler serves 12 of the 15 U.S. cabinet-level agencies.)
Further, the company continues to invest in AI and sees huge growth potential for its AI-powered features. It provides data protection capabilities to prevent the leakage of sensitive data through generative AI.
Overall, the analyst reiterated a buy rating on ZS stock with a price target of $195, saying, “Investments in AI, Cloud and go-to-market are set to accelerate growth.”
Eyal holds the 9th position among more than 8,500 analysts tracked on TipRanks. In all, 70% of his ratings have been profitable, with each generating an average return of 25.5%. (See Zscaler’s Financial Statements on TipRanks)
In reaction to the impressive performance, Needham analyst Alex Henderson raised his price target for CRWD stock to $200 from $170 and reiterated a buy rating on the stock. The analyst noted that the company achieved strong growth in new products under its Identity, Cloud, and LogScale Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) offerings.
The analyst also highlighted management’s commentary about the company’s generative AI cybersecurity product called Charlotte AI, which they believe can immensely improve execution for customers by automating workflows. He added that the use of AI helped the company enhance its own adjusted operating margin, which increased by 472 basis points to 21.3% in the fiscal second quarter.
Henderson called CRWD one of his top recommendations in cybersecurity and said, “Crowd is taking market share with relatively stable pricing and strong new product uptake.”
Henderson ranks 162nd among more than 8,500 analysts tracked by TipRanks. His ratings have been profitable 58% of the time, with each rating delivering a return of 15.1%, on average. (See CrowdStrike’s Technical Analysis on TipRanks)
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Next up is Mexican fast food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG). Baird analyst David Tarantino, who ranks 357 out of more than 8,500 analysts on TipRanks, said that CMG remains his top idea for investors with a 12-month horizon.
The analyst observed that the stock has pulled back since the mixed second-quarter results due to concerns about late Q2 2023 and early Q3 traffic, subdued Q3 restaurant margin outlook, and macro factors. Nevertheless, he feels that this pullback has created an attractive opportunity to buy CMG stock based on multiple positive catalysts that could emerge in the months ahead.
“Specifically, we expect signs of strong same-store traffic momentum and further pricing actions to lead to an upward bias to EPS estimates and support robust valuation metrics on CMG heading into year-end,” said Tarantino.
Additionally, he sees the possibility of CMG accelerating its unit growth to the high end of its target of 8% to 10% annually, supported by the hiring of additional construction managers this year. Tarantino estimates that a combination of about 10% unit growth and mid-single-digit comparable sales could drive low-to-mid teens revenue growth and more than 20% EPS increase, a profile which he believes deserves a premium valuation.
Tarantino reaffirmed a buy rating on CMG stock with a price target of $2,400. His ratings have been successful 62% of the time, with each rating delivering an average return of 10%. (See CMG Hedge Fund Trading Activity on TipRanks).
Athletic apparel retailer Lululemon (LULU) impressed investors with its fiscal second-quarter performance and improved outlook. The company experienced strong momentum in North America and a spike in its international business, mainly due to robust sales in China.
Commenting on the 61% growth in sales from Greater China, Guggenheim analyst Robert Drbul said that he continues to believe that China holds significant growth potential for Lululemon, as the company aims to quadruple international revenues by 2026. He also highlighted that Lulu intends to open a majority of its 35 new international stores, scheduled for this year, in China.
The analyst raised his Fiscal 2023 and 2024 earnings estimates and believes that demand for the company’s merchandise remains strong, as competitive pressures from upcoming athletic brands seem overestimated.
Drbul maintained a buy rating on LULU and a price target of $440, justifying that the company “stands to benefit from favorable secular tailwinds (health, wellness, casualization, and fitness, including at-home).”
Drbul ranks No. 958 out of more than 8,500 analysts tracked on TipRanks. Additionally, 57% of his ratings have been profitable with an average return of 5%. (See Lululemon Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks)
The last stock on this week’s list is Acushnet Holdings (GOLF), a manufacturer of golf products. Tigress Financial analyst Ivan Feinseth believes that the company is well-positioned to benefit from the ongoing growth in golf, driven by product launches and biannual new golf ball design introductions.
The analyst highlighted that GOLF’s strong brand name continues to be a growth catalyst, as its Titleist brand golf balls remain the preferred choice of PGA and LPGA Tour players. He also noted the strong growth in Titleist golf clubs, Titleist gear, and FootJoy golf wear segments, fueled by a wide range of innovative launches, including new TSR models that rapidly emerged as the most-played model on the PGA tour.
Feinseth increased his price target for GOLF to $68 from $62 and reiterated a buy rating, while emphasizing that the company is enhancing shareholder returns through ongoing dividend increases and share repurchases.
“GOLF’s incredible brand equity, driven by its best-in-class and industry-leading product lines, including FootJoy and Titleist, are major assets and the primary drivers of its premium market valuation,” said Feinseth.
Feinseth holds the 289th position among more than 8,500 analysts tracked on TipRanks. His ratings have been profitable 58% of the time, with each rating delivering an average return of 10.9%. (See Acushnet Stock Chart on TipRanks)