Last week, the NASDAQ slipped below 13,200, making the net loss from its all-time peak, reached earlier this month, 6.4%. If this trend keeps up, the index will slip into correction territory, a loss of 10% from its peak. So what exactly is going on?
At bottom, it’s mixed signals. The COVID-19 pandemic is starting to fade and the economy is starting to reopen – strong positives that should boost markets. But an economic restart brings with it inflationary pressures: more people working means more consumers with money in their pockets, and the massive stimulus bills passed in recent months – and the bill working through Congress now, which totals $1.9 trillion – have put additional funds in people’s wallets and liquidity into the economy. There is pent-up demand out there, and people with money to spend, and both factors will work to push up prices.
We can see one effect of all of this in the bond market, where the ten-year Treasury bond is yielding 1.4%, near a one-year high, and it has been trending upwards in recent weeks. This may be a case of jumping the gun, however, as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said in testimony before the Senate that he is not considering a move to boost interest rates.
In other words, these are confusing times. For those feeling lost in all of the stock market fog, investing gurus can offer a sense of clarity. No one more so than billionaire Steven Cohen.
Cohen’s investment firm, Point72 Asset Management, relies on a strategy that involves investments in the stock market as well as a more macro approach. This very strategy has cemented Cohen’s status as a highly respected investing powerhouse, with the guru earning $1.4 billion in 2020 thanks to a 16% gain in Point72′s main hedge fund.
Bearing this in mind, our focus shifted to Point72's most recent 13F filing, which discloses the stocks the fund snapped up in the fourth quarter. Locking in on three tickers in particular, TipRanks’ database revealed that each has earned a “Strong Buy” analyst consensus and boasts significant upside potential.
Array Technologies (ARRY)
The first new position is in Array Technologies, a ‘green tech’ company providing tracking technology for large-scale solar energy projects. It’s not enough just to deploy enough photovoltaic solar collection panels to power an energy utility; the panels have to track the sun across the sky, and account for seasonal differences in its path. Array delivers solutions to these problems with its DuraTrack and SmarTrack products.
Array boasts that its tracking systems will improve the lifetime efficiency of solar array projects, and that its SmarTrack system can boost energy production by 5% overall. The company clearly has impressed its customers, as it has installations in 30 countries, in more than 900 utility-scale projects.
President Biden is expected to take executive actions to boost green economic policy at the expense of the fossil fuel industry, and Array could potentially benefit from this political environment.
This company’s stock is new to the markets, having held its IPO in October of last year. The event was described as the ‘first big solar IPO’ in the US for 2020, and it was successful. Shares opened at $22, and closed the day at $36. The company sold 7 million shares, raising $154 million, while another 40.5 million shares were put on the market by Oaktree Capital. Oaktree is the investment manager that had held a majority stake in the company since 2016.
Among Array's fans is Steven Cohen. Scooping up 531,589 shares in Q4, Point72's new ARRY position is worth over $19.7 million at current valuation.
Guggenheim analyst Shahriar Pourreza also seems to be confident about the company's growth prospects, noting that the stock appears undervalued.
“Renewable energy companies have seen a large inflow of capital as a result of the ‘blue wave’ and the Democrats’ control of the White House and both chambers of Congress; however, ARRY continues to trade a significant discount to peers," the 5-star analyst noted.
Pourreza added, "We continue to be bullish on ARRY’s growth prospects driven by 1) tracker market share gains over fixed-tilt systems, 2) ARRY market share gains within the tracker industry, 3) ARRY’s large opportunity in the less-penetrated international market, 4) the opportunity to monetize their existing customer base over the longer-term through extended warranties, software upgrades, etc., which are highly margin accretive.”
In line with these bullish comments, Pourreza rates ARRY shares a Buy, and his $59 price target implies a 59% upside from current levels. (To watch Pourreza’s track record, click here)
New stocks in growth industries tend to attract notice from Wall Street’s pros, and Array has 8 reviews on record since it went public. Of these, 6 are Buys and 2 are Holds, making the consensus rating on the stock a Strong Buy. The average price target, at $53.75, suggests room for ~45% upside in the next 12 months. (See ARRY stock analysis on TipRanks)
Paya Holdings (PAYA)
The second Cohen pick we're looking at is Paya Holdings, a North American payment processing service. The company offers integrated payment solutions for B2B operations in the education, government, healthcare, non-profit, and utility sectors. Paya boasts over $30 billion in payments processed annually, for over 100,000 customers.
In mid-October of last year, Paya completed its move to the public market via a SPAC (special acquisition company) merger with FinTech Acquisition Corporation III.
Cohen is standing squarely with the bulls on this one. During Q4, Point72 snapped up 3,288,843 shares, bringing the size of the holding to 4,489,443 shares. After this 365% boost, the value of the position is now ~$54 million.
Mark Palmer, 5-star analyst with BTIG, is impressed with Paya’s prospects into the mid-term, writing, “We expect PAYA to generate revenue growth in the high-teens during the next few years, with Integrated Solutions poised to grow in the mid-20s and Payment Services set to grow in the mid-single digits. At the same time, the company’s operating expenses should grow in the 5% context, in our view. As such, we believe PAYA’s adjusted EBITDA growth will be north of 20% during the next few years, and that its adjusted EBITDA margins will expand to 28% by YE21 from 25% in 2019.”
Palmer puts an $18 price target on PAYA shares, indicating his confidence in 49% growth for the year ahead, and rates the shares as a Buy. (To watch Palmer’s track record, click here)
PAYA’s Strong Buy analyst consensus rating is unanimous, based on 4 Buy-side reviews set in recent weeks. The shares have an average price target of $16, which suggests ~33% upside potential from the current share price of $12.06. (See PAYA stock analysis on TipRanks)
Dicerna Pharma (DRNA)
Last but not least is Dicerna Pharma, a clinical stage biotech company with a focus on the discovery, research and development of treatments based on its RNA interference (RNAi) technology platform. The company has 4 drug candidates in various stages of clinical trials and another 6 in pre-clinical studies.
The company's pipeline clearly got Steven Cohen’s attention – to the tune of taking a new stake totaling 2.366 million shares. This holding is worth $63.8 million at current values.
The drug candidate farthest along Dicerna’s pipeline is nedosiran (DCR-PHXC), which is being investigated as a treatment for PH, or primary hyperoxaluria – a group of several genetic disorders that cause life-threatening kidney disorders through overproduction of oxalate. Nedosiran inhibits the enzyme that causes this overproduction, and is in a Phase 3 trial. Top-line results are expected in mid-’21 and, if everything goes as planned, an NDA filing for nedosiran is anticipate near the end of 3Q21.
Covering the stock for Leerink, analyst Mani Foroohar sees nedosiran as the key to the company’s near-term future.
“We expect nedosiran could see approval in mid-2022, placing the drug roughly a year and a half behind competitor Oxlumo (ALNY, MP) in PH1... A successful outcome will transform DRNA into a commercial rare disease company in an attractive duopoly market with best-in-class breadth of label," Foroohar noted.
To this end, Foroohar rates DRNA an Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his price target of $45 suggests a one-year upside potential of 66%. (To watch Foroohar’s track record, click here)
All in all, Dicerna Pharma has 4 Buy reviews on record, making the Strong Buy unanimous. DRNA shares are trading for $26.98, and their $38 average price target puts the upside at ~41% over the next 12 months. (See DRNA 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.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.