Three Stocks to Watch for the Week of August 30th

U.S. equity markets rebounded last week and were lifted to record highs.  The Nasdaq also set a new standard, breaching 15,000 for the first time on Tuesday.  Then on Friday, after the release of Fed Chairman J. Powell’s speech, the S&P 500 closed above the 4,500-point level for the first time.  Powell reassured market participants that the central bank’s extraordinary efforts to prop up the economy were likely to give support a while longer.

With the central bank’s Jackson Hole meeting behind us, New employment data will be one of the focal points in the week ahead.  The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for August will be released on Friday and could influence the Fed’s decision on when to taper its monthly bond purchases.  

There’s no telling what the future holds moving into September, notoriously a bad month for stocks, riding a wave of record highs amid virus uncertainty.  “When I sift through the noise … that’s what the market is focusing on right now, plain and simple,” said Jack Janasiewicz, portfolio manager at Natixis Investment Managers Solutions.  “If we do see a pullback in September, I would definitely be telling our clients, ‘take this as a buying opportunity,’” he continued.  

Buying opportunities could be plentiful next month, so this is a great time to upgrade your watchlist.  Our team has a few recommendations for stocks to watch as we move in September. 

Some of the Covid-era changes we think are here to stay are contactless payment, online shopping, and food delivery services. Mastercard Incorporated (MA) is one of the stocks benefiting from the shift.  

Recent data shows that consumers are spending more on their debit cards and less on credit cards, which is good for MA because they make more per transaction from debit card purchases than those made on credit cards.  They also make more on cross-border transactions that come mostly from international travel, which ground to a halt due to the pandemic.  Mastercard caught up nicely since the pandemic forced closures but has only gained 1% for the year so far.   

We aren’t the only ones who believe MA has plenty of gas in the tank as contactless payment takes over.   Mastercard is one of the stocks that’s been named by Warren Buffet to buy and hold for the long term.  

On August 17, investment advisory JPMorgan reiterated an Overweight rating on Mastercard stock and raised the price target to $430 from $427, noting that the firm was slated for a return to pre-pandemic growth in the second half of 2021.

The current consensus among 38 polled investment analysts is to buy stock in Mastercard Inc.  There are 32 Buy ratings for the stock, 6 Hold ratings, and no Sell ratings.  A twelve-month median price target of $447.50 represents a 26% increase from its current price.

Anaplan Inc. (PLAN) is positioned for gains from a robust uptick in demand for its cloud-based Connected Planning platform, which enables its users to improve decision-making across finance to supply chains on a real-time basis.  

The rapid digital transformation that is taking place across all industries is driving the need for efficient planning and data-driven decision-making solutions.  Moreover, current economic weakness has increased the need for companies to optimize their spending patterns.  These factors favor the prospects of PLAN.

Last year, Anaplan replaced a collection of customer feedback mechanisms with the Medallia Experience Cloud. Medallia helped Anaplan add multiple feedback touchpoints across their customer journey and provided direct access for necessary employees to feedback data.

“Having access to real-time feedback allows us to make faster, more intelligent decisions across Anaplan. These decisions can include everything from how we design our platform to how we deliver everyday support,” said Anaplan Vice President of Customer Care Anne Cooper.

Anaplan will be looking to display strength during its upcoming August 31st earnings call.  Revenues are expected to be $134.08 million, up 25.9% from the same period last year.  

Of 19 polled analysts, 17 rate PLAN a Buy and 2 rate it a Hold.  There are no Sell ratings for the stock.  A median 12-month price target of $70 represents an increase of 16% from its current price.  


Canadian Natural is the recent recipient of an upgrade to Buy from Goldman Sachs, along with a $44 price target, based on the potential upside to consensus and material free cash flow generation on its above-consensus oil price outlook.  Goldman’s Neil Mehta sees Canadian Natural “generating 20% free cash flow yield in 2022 enabling deleveraging and potential for buybacks, including its already peer leading dividend.

According to Mehta, risk around the Line 3 replacement project that would add more barrel capacity has been “more than priced into valuation,“ as CNQ shares have underperformed Canadian oil peers by around 13% since mid-January.   

CNQ is arguably a current favorite among analysts.  Of 21 offering recommendations, 17 say to Buy the stock, and 4 call it a Hold.  There are no Sell ratings for CNQ.  A median 12-month price target of $43.32 represents a 29% increase from its current price. 

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