Wall Street’s best firms don’t just look at the stocks, they look at the big picture, too. And Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist, John Stoltzfus, is particularly adept at showing us the macro view. In his first note of the new year, Stoltzfus notes a series of factors that are going to impact the markets.
The big news, of course, the 800-pound gorilla that cannot be ignored, is the ongoing COVID epidemic. The disease is coming back strong now that we’re well into winter – which was somewhat expected, as it’s typical behavior for flu-like respiratory viruses. With the winter virus surge, we also must contend with a new round of lockdown policies, imposed from state or local levels. It’s hoped that the newly available COVID vaccines will, by springtime, start to put a damper on the novel coronavirus.
“The length of time that households and economies have been negatively impacted by the spread of the virus across the world in our view will likely result in less resistance to inoculation against Covid-19 than many experts had feared early on in the pandemic. We expect that equity markets will remain sensitive to developments tied to the pandemic that have held the US and global economy hostage for nearly a year,” Stoltzfus said.
The second-biggest news, but the one most likely, in Stoltzfus’ view, to make an impression on the market, is the Georgia election. Both Democratic candidates won Senate seats, giving the incoming Biden Administration the ability to push policies through Congress over any opposition – at least for the next two years.
This Democrat victory, ensuring short-term one-party control of the Presidency and Congress, has Stoltzfus worried. In his campaign, Joe Biden promised to roll back Trump’s tax policies, and to enact a series of large spending initiatives. Should he now follow through, Biden’s stated policy is likely to raise both taxes and Federal spending. And in Stoltzfus’ view, that will probably cost the markets; Stoltzfus believes that unfettered progressive/Democrat policy enactments will leave the S&P 500 vulnerable to losses on the order of 6% to 10%.
Before rushing to sell-off holdings, Oppenheimer’s stock analysts remind investors that compelling opportunities can still be found. The firm’s analysts have tagged three stocks that they see gaining upwards of 80% for the year ahead. Using TipRanks’ database, we learned that the rest of the Street is in agreement, as all three boast a “Strong Buy” analyst consensus.
miRagen Therapeutics (MGEN)
miRagen Therapeutics aims to develop new treatment options for diseases that today’s therapies cannot adequately ameliorate. The company’s flagship drug candidate is VRDN-001, an anti-IGF-1R monoclonal antibody in clinical-stage research as a treatment for thyroid eye disease (TED).
miRagen acquired the rights to VRDN-001 late last year, after its October acquisition of Veridian Therapeutics. The monoclonal antibody is about to enter Phase 2 clinical trial, with initial results expected around mid-year 2021.
miRagen is funding its current research with a $91 million capital raise, arranged in a private placement financing agreement. With that agreement in place, miRagen ended the third quarter with $144 million in cash on hand, but more importantly, a clear cash runway extending to 2023.
Among the bulls is Oppenheimer analyst Leland Gershell, who rates MGEN an Outperform (i.e. Buy), along with a $37 price target. This figure indicates room for 102% one-year growth. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)
Backing his stance, Gershell says, “Recent Viridian acquisition and $91M raise set miRagen on a new course, as the incoming programs position it to compete in the fertile thyroid eye disease market… we see ample revenue potential for [VRDN-001], and its higher potency may enable differentiation… We expect that progress in the development of MGEN’s TED candidates will support outperformance.”
Overall, Wall Street likes the risk/reward factor at play here, as TipRanks showcases a Strong Buy consensus rooting for MGEN’s success. Shares are selling for $18.26 and have an average price target of $32. This target implies a 75% upside from current levels. (See MGEN stock analysis on TipRanks)
Oric Pharmaceuticals (ORIC)
The success of the pharmacological industry has, ironically, caused a significant challenge: many diseases are becoming resistant to existing therapies. Many cancers are among the diseases subject to resistance and consequent relapse, serious problems that both impact the patient’s quality of life and increase mortality rates. Oric Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-state biopharma research company, is working on treatments to overcome cancer resistance.
Oric’s lead candidate is ORIC-101, which shows promise as a glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonist. The drug is entering two separate Phase 1b trials, one for prostate cancer and one for solid tumors.
Modern drug research is expensive, and Oric recently raised capital through a successful public offering of stock. The company put over 5.79 million new shares on the market back in November, at $23 each, and grossed over $133.3 million.
5-star Oppenheimer analyst Kevin DeGeeter covers Oric, and he is bullish. DeGeeter backs his Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating with a $62 price target, implying a one-year upside potential of 88%. (To watch DeGeeter’s track record, click here)
In support of his optimistic stance, DeGeeter writes, “We view ORIC as an investment in a leadership team with prior history of successfully developing clinically important cancer drugs. Our thesis assumes … clinical data supporting best-in-class profile of ORIC-101 based on either ease of use or superior efficacy in biomarker selected population. We believe current investor expectations assign material value to potential best-in-class profile of ORIC-101 and skills of management.”
Overall, ORIC shares get a unanimous thumbs up from the analyst consensus, with 3 recent Buy reviews adding up to a Strong Buy rating. The stock is priced at $32.91, while the $50.67 average price target indicates room for an ~54% growth. (See ORIC stock analysis on TipRanks)
Next up is a unicorn, a billion-dollar fintech startup that has been on the public markets for less than three months. Triterras provides an online trading and trade finance platform, Kratos, based on blockchain technology. Trade finance, or the provision of credit services in the physical transport of market commodities, is worth an estimated $40 billion annually; Triterras’ platform uses the secure nature of blockchain as a selling point for online traders.
Triterras went public through a SPAC merger; that is, a business combination with a special acquisition company. These companies exist to purchase a target company, injecting capital, and then put the combined entity on the public markets.
Analyst Owen Lau, in his coverage of this stock for Oppenheimer, likes what he sees. Of the company’s current status, he writes, “…results and momentum appear strong, and the full-year guidance implies a 235% and 142% YoY growth in revenue and net income off a low base. More importantly, while the company is growing faster than other high growth marketplaces, the stock trades at a discount to low growth marketplaces on average.”
At the bottom line, Lau is bullish, saying, “We see an intriguing paper-to-electronic opportunity in Triterras, which leverages blockchain technology to disrupt the low-tech adoption in the trade and trade finance industry.”
In line with these comments, Lau rates TRIT shares an Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his $23 price target implies 93% growth for the year ahead. (To watch Lau’s track record, click here)
Overall, this company has 3 recent reviews on record, and they are all to buy, making the Strong Buy analyst consensus unanimously positive. Shares are priced at $10.94 with an average price target of $19, giving the stock ~60% one-year upside potential. (See TRIT stock analysis at 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.