Three Stocks to Watch for the Week of November 15th, 2021

Markets took a break from their record-setting streak last week after being confronted by hotter-than-expected October inflation reports.  The S&P 500 lost 0.4% for the week while the Nasdaq dropped 0.84% and the Dow slid 0.87%.

Q3 earnings season is heading toward the finish line.  Overall, 460 of the S&P 500 companies have reported.  Roughly 68% have topped revenue forecasts, and 81% have beat profit projections.  Compared to last year, earnings are up about 42%, and sales growth has been approximately 19% higher.

This week we’ll hear from some of the largest retailers in the US, including Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), and BJ’s (BJ). We’ll also find out how some of China’s biggest e-commerce giants did, including Alibaba (BABA) and (JD)

Opportunities are bountiful right now if you know where to look.  Our team has spotted some exciting action in financials and found one company paving the way for professionals in the metaverse.  Keep reading to find out which tickers made it to our watch list this week.  

First up is a compelling choice from the financial sector right now. There’s a bevy of acquisitions in the wings that are expected to be lucrative for Focus Financial Partners (FOCS), investors in Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), such as two upcoming partner firm mergers, which will provide about $7 million in growth. 

Raymond James analyst Patrick O’Shaughnessy recently broke down his bullish standpoint on the financial stock. “Market appreciation and updated margin guidance drive our estimates higher in 2021 and beyond, and with Focus’s leverage trending towards the low end of its targeted range … we could see an acceleration in acquisition activity,” he says. 

The company surpassed revenue and EPS expectations when it reported Q3 earnings yesterday.  Focus reported $454.5 million in revenue for the third quarter and an impressive 28.8% in year-over-year organic revenue growth.   Analysts expected FOCS to have generated $445.35 million in revenue during the period.  Analysts were looking for a third-quarter EPS of $0.96, while Focus reported  $0.98.

“We continue to deliver strong growth and financial performance in Q3, and we anticipate that this will continue into 2022 and beyond.  We are uniquely positioned to benefit from the large and growing independent wealth management industry, which according to an investment report, stood at approximately $6 trillion in 2019 in the US alone and is expected to grow to $9 trillion by 2024, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 10%. According to several sources, the addition of international markets, just in the countries we’re invested in, adds another approximate $4 trillion to this total,” commented Jim Shanahan, Focus CFO.

Focus execs are looking toward a bright future for the company, and so are the pros on Wall Street.  Of the 8 analysts offering recommendations for the stock, all 8 rate the stock a Buy.  There are no Sell ratings for the stock.  The median price target has risen nearly 20% over the past month to $73.00, which would be a 12% increase from the last price.  

Investors are placing their bets on which companies will lay the foundation for the next internet iteration, which helped boost the second stock on our list to new highs last week.  The metaverse could revolutionize the way professionals interact, meet and collaborate online and Microsoft (MSFT) is looking to be the early leader in the professional metaverse.  Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an October interview with Harvard Business Review, “I think this entire idea of the metaverse is fundamentally this: Increasingly, as we embed computing in the real world, we can now embed the real world in computing.”  

In our new, work-from-home environment, Microsoft Teams and its 365 software suite has become the go-to productivity platform in the new work-from-home environment.  The company is using its leadership position to its advantage.  At a recent event, Microsoft unveiled a new suite of metaverse and virtual products designed to integrate into its popular suite of tools, including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces, which creates immersive environments for participants.  Companies will be able to recreate and visit their factory floors and retail stores during virtual meetings to boost collaborations.  Users will also be able to create their own avatars for video meetings and collaborate in virtual workrooms.  

Microsoft’s HoloLens, which are mixed reality smart glasses, and Xbox gaming consoles, may also play essential roles in the metaverse user interface.  32 of the 36 analysts covering the stock say to Buy MSFT.  The other 4 say to Hold.  There are no Sell ratings.  A median price target of $363 represents a 10% increase from the last price.  

The last stock on our watchlist is a small-cap that’s snatching up market share in a rapidly growing industry.  Programmatic advertising software company Viant Technology’s (DSP) industry-leading Demand-Side Platform, Adelphic, allows marketers to easily buy ads across several channels.  Major agencies, brands, and large media buyers rely on Adelphic to execute programmatic advertising campaigns across connected TV (CTV), linear TV, desktop, mobile, digital out-of-home (DOOH), digital audio, and more.  With a customer satisfaction rating of 95%, Adelphic boasts the most supply integrations of any single platform across every channel.

DSP recently announced a collaboration with an independent mobile platform, Kochava Collective.  The integration of Kochava Collective’s real-world location data within the Adelphic advertising software is intended to upgrade the user experience.  Jon Schulz, DSP’s CMO, said, “Our partnership with Kochava Collective will bolster insights for brands and agencies looking to better understand how their marketing efforts are driving foot traffic, and ultimately, brick-and-mortar sales.”

For its fiscal second quarter, ended June 30, 2021, DSP’s net revenue increased 65.7% year-over-year to $50.41 million. DSP’s revenue is expected to come in at $241.69 million in its fiscal year 2022, representing a 15.1% year-over-year rise. In addition, the company’s EPS is expected to increase 70.4% year-over-year in the next year. The analyst community is optimistic about Viant’s potential ahead of the November 9th earnings call.  A 12-month median price target of $25 represents a 117% increase from the last price.  Of 7 analysts offering recommendations for DSP, 5 rate the stock a Buy and 2 rate it a Hold.  There are no Sell ratings for the stock.

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