SPECIAL REPORT The Top 7 Stocks for 2024

Why These 7 Stocks Are the Best Ways to Play Fintech Right Now

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  • Shift4 Payments (FOUR): With this payment processor focused on fast-growing industries, high-performing FOUR stock has more room to run.
  • LendingClub (LC): As the market maintains a “show me” view on LC, shares have big upside potential if earnings forecasts prove correct.
  • Pagaya Technologies (PGY): Big upside potential with PGY if it merely rides out the current economic downturn.
  • Read more on the top fintech stocks to buy and hold today!
Fintech stocks - Why These 7 Stocks Are the Best Ways to Play Fintech Right Now

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Fintech stocks have been trending higher. All as investors become confident that with cooling inflation, the Federal Reserve will soon pause, then begin to pivot on interest rate hikes.

This comes despite the fact that the Fed, so far, appears to be prepared to keep raising rates, until the rate of inflation comes down to the central bank’s long-term target (2% annual inflation). Yet while this suggests that the market has gotten ahead of itself, pricing in rate cuts well before they begin to take shape, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid sectors like fintech. The near term may remain volatile, but if you’re bullish on this fast-growing sector in the long term, there are plenty of opportunities out in leading fintech names throughout the space. A good example is these seven fintech stocks. Each one is a great way to add “future of finance” exposure to your portfolio.

Shift4 Payments (FOUR)

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Digital payment processing firm Shift4 Payments (NYSE:FOUR) plunged during the 2022 stock market sell-off. However, the stock has bounced back in a big way. In fact, FOUR has clearly been one of the high-performing fintech stocks over the past year, more than doubling in price. Also, based on future growth forecasts, shares likely have more room to run from here. Shift4 Payments is expected to continue growing earnings at a rapid clip.

Mainly, due to the company’s exposure to digital payment transaction volume growth in areas like e-commerce and hospitality. Per some sell-side forecasts, Shift4’s annual earnings could top $6 per share by 2025. Not too shabby, for a stock you can buy today for around $67.75 per share.

LendingClub (LC)

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Founded in 2006, and going public in 2014, LendingClub (NYSE:LC) is one of the older fintech stocks. Starting off as a peer-to-peer lender, LC has since moved out of this business, morphing into a digital-first financial institution, or neobank.

Experiencing a sharp price decline during the 2022 sell-off, LC stock has only recently started to bounce back. That said, this may work in your favor if you’re only deciding now to begin building a position. For one, as InvestorPlace’s Chris Markoch pointed out in June, this fintech’s earnings are expected to jump by 166% during 2024.

In a recent analyst research note, Jeffries’ John Hecht argues that there are multiple catalysts that will enable this high level of earnings growth to happen. As the market continues to take a “show me” approach with LC, shares could soar in price if actual results meet or beat these expectations.

Pagaya Technologies (PGY)

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Back in June, I argued Pagaya Technologies (NASDAQ:PGY) was one of the best DeSPAC stocks out there. My main argument was that this fintech had tremendous upside potential if economic conditions normalize from here. An early-stage company, Pagaya uses artificial intelligence (or AI) to assess loan risk.

Since last year, there have been big concerns that AI-based loan underwriting models will not hold up during a severe economic downturn. However, irrespective if there’s a “hard landing,” “soft landing,” or neither (no recession) for the U.S. economy, downside risk is likely already baked into the PGY stock price, following its sharp price decline.

If Pagaya survives the current economic downturn, it may be well-positioned to keep growing during the recovery. Investors have started to catch onto the opportunity here with PGY, but if you’re investing in fintech stocks, there’s still time to lock down a small, speculative position.

PayPal (PYPL)

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As a mature fintech, I wouldn’t buy PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) on the expectation of massively outsized gains. However, if you want one of the “blue chip” fintech stocks, PYPL is by all means a strong choice. While shares in the digital payments giant were hammered during last year’s market meltdown, PYPL stock may be poised to make a steady recovery. The reasons for this are twofold. First, from the improvements to the macro situation during 2024 and beyond.

Second, due to PayPal’s plans to aggressively buy back stock. The company plans to repurchase a total of $5 billion worth of shares in 2023. Both these factors will likely result in steady earnings growth, as seen in analyst earnings forecasts. In turn, this will lead to the stock moving steadily higher, in tandem with rising earnings. For the potential for solid returns on the rebound, buy PYPL.

SoFi Technologies (SOFI)

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In recent months, I have been very bullish on SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFI). During late May/early June, shares in this neobank took off like a rocket, as investors bought on the rumor of the “student loan saga” finally coming to an end.

However, once the Supreme Court made its decision on the constitutionality of student loan forgiveness, the market sold the news with SOFI stock. Still, shares have held onto most of their recent gains. More importantly, it’s not as if the resumption of student loan repayments will have just a one-and-done impact on SoFi’s growth.

Besides possibly sparking a growth resurgence for SoFi’s student loan refinancing arm, the fintech company stands to benefit from cross-selling other financial services to those initially becoming SoFi members to use its legacy offering. All of this gives SoFi a strong pathway to profitability. In turn, a path back to double-digit prices.

Upstart Holdings (UPST)

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To say Upstart Holdings (NASDAQ:UPST) has been on a tear lately is an understatement. Shares in this AI-powered lending platform operator have more than tripled in price since May. Plenty may view this recent spike as a case of “too far, too fast,” as recession risks still loom. Not only that but following this big price run-up, UPST stock on the surface appears overvalued. Shares today trade for nearly 66 times earnings. Even so, keep in mind that Upstart shares sank sharply when recession fears first emerged. Much like the situation with PGY, “less bad” economic conditions may be all that it takes to produce better-than-expected results.

The company has already started to exceed expectations, another factor explaining UPST’s dramatic spike in price. Although it may be better to lock down a position on weakness, UPST is another possible long-term buy to consider among the fintech stocks.

XTM (XTMIF)

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After looking at several high-profile fintech plays, let’s take a look at a more under-the-radar one. Trading in the over-the-counter market, Canada-based XTM (OTCMKTS:XTMIF) is a small fintech, focused on providing earned wage access (or EWA) services.

EWA platforms like XTM facilitate the payment of wages to employees on a daily basis, eliminating the wait of the traditional two-week payroll cycle. Back in May, when I first wrote about XTMIF stock, I argued that this niche area of the financial technology sector is growing very rapidly.

This, in turn, points to high growth ahead for XTM, especially in the U.S. The company’s recent acquisition of stateside-based competitor QRails will fast-track its move into the American EWA market. An OTC penny stock, whose business has yet to reach profitability, XTMIF isn’t for everybody. Risk-tolerant fintech investors, though, may find it to be a worthwhile opportunity.

On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2023/07/why-these-7-fintech-stocks-are-the-best-ways-to-play-sector/.

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