The bulls are celebrating right now. As you probably heard, the S&P 500 share index has hit a new milestone. It is now 3,453 days since March 9, 2009, when the world was in the full throes of a financial crisis and the S&P hit its low. That makes it the longest bull stretch on record. Since its low in 2009, the market has exploded by over 300%.
Plus strong consumer earnings, and a hiatus in the trade dispute has just boosted the index to a record intraday high of 2,873.23 points.
It seems for now the bears are back in their place. And signs are that the rally is set to last. “Bull markets don’t die of old age. What kills them is recessions,” says Yardeni Research’s Ed Yardeni. “The earnings picture has been so bright. … I think we’re going to have a long expansion. I think the bull market continues.” Most extraordinary is that S&P 500 revenues jumped 10.3% year-over-year last quarter to a new record high, he added.
So how can you make the most of this rally? Here are five stocks to jump into right now. Note that according to TipRanks these stocks all boast a ‘Strong Buy’ analyst consensus based on all ratings from the last three months. They are also all performing very strongly year-to-date but have serious growth lined up ahead. Let’s take a closer look now:
Hot Stocks To Buy: 2U Inc (TWOU)
Shares in this online education platform are up over 65% in just 1 year. Five-star Oppenheimer Brian Nagel (Profile & Recommendations) doesn’t hold back when he says: “While 2U’s valuation currently reflects a meaningfully successful business trajectory… we believe TWOU should be a core long-term holding”.
The reason is clear: 2U Inc (NASDAQ:TWOU) represents “the most-dominant and best-positioned vendor for the future within higher education.” When you think about it, TWO is perfectly positioned for the inevitable education shift towards digital learning and student sourcing.
The company has deep structural advantages and many prestigious universities as referenceable partners for competitive differentiation, adds Nagel. Note that this is one of the Top 10 analysts on TipRanks, out of over 4,800 analysts — so he knows a thing or two about stock picking.
Plus now is a savvy time to jump in. Following a fireside chat with management, this top analyst is expecting accelerated growth as the new program ramp-up starts over the next 12-24 months. He has a $91 price target on the stock.
The overall Street outlook is just as upbeat. This ‘Strong Buy’ stock has scored only buy ratings in the last three months. This is with a $102 average analyst price target (24% upside potential). See what other Top Analysts are saying about TWOU.
Hot Stocks To Buy: United Health (UNH)
One of the U.S.’s largest insurance companies, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), makes a very compelling investing proposition right now. “We continue to believe that UNH should be a core holding in all large-cap growth portfolios” says five-star Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Steven Halper (Profile & Recommendations).
A DealReporter story and other media has suggested that UNH is eyeing athenahealth (NASDAQ:ATHN). And so far the Street reaction is positive: Athena’s data set would certainly enhance performance of its Optum Population Health and Risk Analytics applications, says Halper.
He is very bullish on UNH’s lucrative Optum tech business in general. “UNH is unique within our coverage universe given its Optum segment, which accounted for 44% of consolidated operating profit in 2017” writes Halper, before adding: “We expect continued strong growth in Optum in 2018.”
Shares are trading at ‘attractive’ levels, and Halper sees the stock spiking 15% to $300. Note that UNH is already up 18% year-to-date. In total UNH — a ‘Strong Buy’ stock — has received 8 Buy ratings and 1 Hold ratings. On average these analysts have a price target of $286. See what other Top Analysts are saying about UNH.
Hot Stocks To Buy: Lowe’s (LOW)
Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) is the second-largest home improvement specialty retailer in the United States. And the stock is surging right now. Following stellar Q2 earnings results, shares are trading up 9%. This means that on a year-to-date basis prices have improved by 14%.
Adjusted earnings in Q2 expanded about 32% to $2.07 per share from the previous year, and smashed consensus of $2.02. This is on an impressive domestic comp sales gain of +5.3%.
Oppenheimer’s Brian Nagel (Profile & Recommendations) singles out LOW as a Top Stock Pick for August/ September. He has a bullish $140 price target on the stock — indicating big upside potential of 33%. According to Nagel “we believe LOW represents a very well-positioned chain in a sector benefiting from some of the strongest demand growth in retail.”
Post-results, Nagel is increasingly confident on new CEO Marvin Ellison. He believes Ellison “is working quickly to streamline the LOW business model and better position the company for improved results in coming quarters and years.”
Indeed, this ‘Strong Buy’ stock has received 12 recent buy ratings. Only two analysts have decided to stay on the sidelines during this time. Their average analyst price target stands at $113.50. See what other Top Analysts are saying about LOW.
Hot Stocks To Buy: Alphabet (GOOGL)
Through 8 months of 2018, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (up 16% year-to-date) has outperformed the market by 12%. This isn’t so surprising when you consider that GOOGL’s organic Y/Y Revenue growth (which is mostly Advertising Revenue) has averaged 23% for 34 straight quarters. And this is with a $130B revenue run-rate.
“We believe the company’s investments in Cloud, IoT and Autonomous Vehicles potentially set the company up for more years of premium growth & profits,” cheers top RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney (Profile & Recommendations).
Near term, he sees three key catalysts on the horizon: the commercialization of Waymo by year end in Phoenix, GOOGL moving past Peak Regulation following GDPR (the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation) implementation and the company potentially re-entering China.
Plus the valuation looks ‘highly attractive’ at these levels. Indeed, Mahaney has a $1,400 price target on GOOGL right now, indicating upside potential of 15%.
Meanwhile MKM analyst Rob Sanderson has just ramped up his price target from $1,355 to $1,465 (20% upside potential). Overall, this ‘Strong Buy’ stock has scored 29 recent buy ratings vs just 3 hold ratings. This is with a $1,383 average analyst price target. See what other Top Analysts are saying about GOOGL.
Hot Stocks To Buy: Visa (V)
Payments giant Visa Inc (NYSE:V) is already up 24% year-to-date. And analysts are optimistic that the stock can continue its steady growth trajectory. In the last three months, Visa has received 16 buy ratings and only 2 hold ratings. Meanwhile the $159 price target speaks of 13% upside potential from the current share price.
For Cantor Fitzgerald’s Joseph Foresi (ranked #5 out of 4,860 tracked analysts) Visa scores big on multiple levels. He explains: “Fundamentally, we like Visa’s opportunity to capitalize on the global conversion of cash into credit, international opportunities, and digital payment tailwinds. Technically, V is in a solid upward channel.”
Visa may trend at a premium to the group, but don’t let this worry you, says Foresi (Profile & Recommendations). He argues that Visa deserves to trade higher due to three key reasons. These are 1) above-average industry growth rates 2) attractive market position, and 3) superior margins. See what other Top Analysts are saying about V.
TipRanks.com offers exclusive insights for investors by focusing on the moves of experts: Analysts, Insiders, Bloggers, Hedge Fund Managers and more. See what the experts are saying about your stocks now at TipRanks.com. As of this writing, Harriet Lefton did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.