We’re in a volatile period right now, as stocks slipping after starting the year on a strong note. Big Tech, which boomed during the pandemic lockdowns and the move to remote work, is leading the declines. Investors have taken the measure of the vaccination programs, and now, in fueled by both a belief and a hope that economies will soon return to a more normal footing, they are seeking out those stocks that will gain we revert to a ‘pre-corona’ market situation.
There is also inflation to take into account. Oil prices are up this year, and that’s one commodity whose price fluctuations are certain to trickle down the supply chain. Along with rising consumer demand, there’s an expectation that prices are going to increase, at least in the near term.
All in all, this is the moment to take the old market advice: buy low and sell high. With stock prices falling for now, and volatility up, the low is covered. The key is finding the stocks that are primed to gain when the bulls start running again.
Wall Street’s analyst corps know this, and they are not shying away from recommending stocks that may have hit bottom. Using TipRanks database, we pinpointed two such stocks. Each is down significantly, but each also has enough upside potential to warrant a Buy rating.
TechnipFMC Plc (FTI)
We’ll start in the hydrocarbon sector, where TechnipFMC operates two divisions in the oil and gas business: subsea, and surface. The company’s projects, until recently, included oil and gas exploration and extraction, rig and platform operations, crude oil refining, petrochemical (ethylene, benzene, naphtha, hydrogen) production, and both on- and offshore liquified natural gas (LNG) plants.
Earlier this month, the petrochemical and LNG operations were spun off as Technip Energy, a separate independently traded company. TechnipFMC retains the subsea and surface hydrocarbon activities, allowing the company to better focus its efforts.
TechnipFMC may need that focus, as the company has had a difficult time gaining traction in the stock markets. Like most of its peers, TechnipFMC saw share value fall steeply last winter at the height of the coronavirus crisis, but since then the stock has only regained about half of the losses. Over the past 12 months, shares of FTI are down 53%.
Q4 results are due out today, after market close, and should shed more light on the company’s full-year performance. The company has reported quarterly earnings in 2020 that are in-line with the previous year’s results. The second quarter showed a year-over-year loss; Q1 and Q3 both showed yoy gains.
Covering FTI for JPMorgan, analyst Sean Meakim writes, “Since the spin-off of Technip Energies was placed back in motion on 1/7, after outperforming considerably in the first days, FTI shares are now down… With newfound visibility to an exit from “spin purgatory”, investors are giving FTI another look with some still taking a “wait and see” approach until post-spin… We view the completion of the spin as a re-rating opportunity… allowing for broader investor participation. Monetization of TechnipFMC’s stake in Technip Energies helps the balance sheet and provides optionality on capital allocation.”
To this end, Meakim rates FTI an Overweight (i.e. Buy) and his $20 price target suggests the stock has room to more than double in the year ahead, with a 172% upside potential. (To watch Meakim’s track record, click here)
Overall, there are 13 recent reviews on FTI, breaking down 8 to 5 in favor of Buy versus Hold. This makes the analyst consensus rating a Moderate Buy, and suggests that Wall Street generally sees opportunity here. Shares are priced at $7.35, and the $12.18 average price target implies a bullish upside of ~65% over the next 12 months. (See FTI stock analysis on TipRanks)
CoreCivic, Inc. (CXW)
Next up, CoreCivic, is a for-profit provider of detention facilities for law enforcement agencies, primarily the US government. The company owns and operates 65 prisons and detention centers with a total capacity of 90,000 inmates, located in 19 states plus DC. Effective on January 1 of this year, the company completed its switch from an REIT to a taxable C-corporation.
The move was made without fanfare, and the company reported its Q4 and full-year 2020 results – which covers the preparation period for the switch – earlier this month. CXW showed a top line of $1.91 billion for the ‘corona year’ of 2020, a small drop (3%) from the $1.98 billion reported in 2019. Full-year earnings came in at 45 cents per share.
During the fourth quarter, the company reported paying off some $125 million of its long-term debt; CoreCivic’s current long-term liabilities are listed as $2.3 billion. The company showed liquid assets on hand at the end of 2020 as $113 million in cash, plus $566 million in available credit.
The heavy debt load may help explain the company’s share performance, even as revenues and earnings remain positive. The stock is down 50% in the past 12 months, having never really recovered from share price losses incurred in the corona panic last winter.
5-star analyst Joe Gomes, of Noble Capital, covers CoreCivic, and remains sanguine on the stock despite its apparent weaknesses.
“We view the fourth quarter as continuation a trend, one across the last three quarters of 2020. In spite of COVID, the large reduction in detainees, the reduction in normal operations of the court system, and other impacts, CoreCivic posted relatively flat revenue and sequential adjusted EPS growth. We believe this illustrates the strength of the Company’s operating model,” Gomes noted.
In line with his optimistic approach, Gomes keeps his Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating and $15 price target as is. This target puts the upside potential at 97%. (To watch Gomes’ track record, click here)
Some stocks fly under the radar, and CXW is one of those. Gomes’ is the only recent analyst review of this company, and it is decidedly positive. (See CXW 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.