The stock markets are responding to conflicting signals lately, and the result is concurrent trends of volatility and gains that have been causing some confusion. Inflation has ticked up in recent months, as pent-up demand now let loose by the economic reopening is crossing limited supply and still-disrupted distribution chains.
But there’s a strong feeling that the inflation is transitory, and that as people get back to work the inflationary trends will be pushed back by improved production and transport efficiencies. Deadlocks in Congress have allayed fears of overly large stimulus measures actually passing.
Watching the market’s ups and downs is Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus. Stoltzfus is cautiously bullish going forward, seeing weakness as a chance to buy in.
“In our experience over the course of some 38 years (since 1983) with more than a mere handful of market gyrations caused by crisis and disruptions of varied size and dimension, investor patience and diversification is likely to be rewarded,” Stoltzfus confidently wrote.
So just where should investors put ‘patience and diversification’ into action? That’s a question for Stoltzfus’s colleagues among Oppenheimer’s stock analysts. Two of the firm’s 5-star analysts have been pounding the table on two stocks, noting that each could soar at least 80% in the next year.
Using TipRanks’ database, we found out that the rest of the Street is also on board, as each boasts a “Strong Buy” consensus rating. Let's take a closer look.
Lightning eMotors (ZEV)
We’ll start with an electric vehicle company, Lightning eMotors. Electric vehicles, or EVs, are considered the next ‘thing’ in the automotive industry, combining zero emission green tech with next generation performance capabilities in the cars. While there are still enormous hurdles involved in converting most automotive fleets to electric – power generation capacity for charging, environment damage inherent in mining rare earths for batteries, and cost of vehicle production all come to mind – companies like Lightning eMotors are working on solutions. Their efforts have made EVs a viable niche product.
ZEV offers two tracks to the EV market, producing actual vehicles and charging stations. The vehicles include commercial designs: cargo and passenger vans; shuttle, school, and city busses; and motor coaches. Lightning has also produced all-electric powertrain systems for existing vehicle models, especially for Ford Motors. Models taking the Lightning eMotors modifications include Ford’s 350HD van series, the E-450 shuttle bus, and the F-550 cargo trucks. Lightning has also done business with Chevy on medium trucks and transit busses.
Lightning Energy is the company’s charging station segment. Through this division, the company produces a series of EV charging stations, and provides installation, maintenance, and support. Ongoing services and charging project management are provided under a Charging as a Service (CaaS) model.
This company is new to the public markets, having entered the NYSE through SPAC merger agreement with GigCapital3 that closed in May of this year. The ZEV ticker started trading on May 7, and the transaction brought the company $216.8 million in net proceeds.
Shortly after the completion of the SPAC agreement, Lightning reported its 1Q21 results. The company showed revenues of $4.6 million, a massive increase from the $0.7 million in the year-ago quarter. The increase comes from the initiation of production and sales during the past year; the company currently has a sales backlog of $169 million and a new-sales pipeline of $807 million. Looking forward, the company expects total vehicle and powertrain sales in 2021 to reach 500 units, with top line revenues in the range of $50 million to $60 million.
5-star analyst Colin Rusch initiated coverage of this stock for Oppenheimer, and was impressed with what he saw.
“We view Lightning eMotors as a clear leader in the electrification of Class 3-7 vehicles, leveraging a modular architecture into defensible solutions and with a bluechip customer base. With Lightning's diverse supply chain, demonstrated capability in delivering numerous vehicles types, and optionality on either growing through powertrain development, full vehicle sales, or being a leading integrator of fuel cellbased power systems, we believe ZEV shares offer investors meaningful upside potential.”
In light of these bullish comments, Rusch rates ZEV shares an Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his $15 price target indicates potential for 80% growth in the year ahead. (To watch Rusch’s track record, click here)
Oppenheimer’s bullish outlook on ZEV is no outlier; EVs are a hot issue right now and this stock has attracted 3 positive reviews in its first weeks on the public markets, for a unanimous Strong Buy consensus rating. The shares are priced at $8.33 and the $14.67 average share price suggests a one-year upside potential of ~76%. (See ZEV stock analysis on TipRanks)
For the next Oppenheimer pick we'll turn to biopharmaceuticals. Rezolute is a clinical-stage, small-cap biotech firm involved in the development of new medications to treat blood-sugar disorders. We think of these primarily as diabetes – the most commonly known such disorder – but there are other medical problems that can arise from improper metabolization of sugars in the blood. Rezolute has two drug candidates in its development pipeline, targeting a congenital pediatric genetic condition as well as diabetic-induced blindness.
The first drug candidate, and the one farther along the pipeline, is RZ358, a potential treatment for congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI). This is a rare pediatric disorder causing excessive insulin production, consequent extremely low blood sugar, and a series of holistic effects on the body. RZ358 is currently in Phase 2b trial – the RIZE study, which currently enrolling patients and is expected to show topline data in 2H21.
The company’s second drug candidate, RZ402, is an orally dosed medication for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. Diabetes is frequently associated with progressive blindness, and this is one of the causal conditions. The company last month announced its topline results from the Phase 1a clinical trial, a first-in-human study of the drug, and the results were positive. RZ402 showed potential efficacy with once daily oral dosing, and the initial study supports advancement to a Phase 1b multiple ascending dose study in 3Q21, and a Phase 2 trial further on.
Oppenheimer analyst Kevin DeGeeter is optimistic on RZLT, as is clear from his $25 price target. At the current share price of $12.78, that target suggests an upside of ~96% and fully supports his Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating. (To watch DeGeeter’s track record, click here)
"We expect RZ358 to address 50% of the patients with CHI that are unresponsive to diazoxide based on novel MOA. For patients responsive to current treatments, some patients experience poor quality of life due to side effects of therapy and may be candidates for switching to RZ358. We expect Phase IIb data in 2H21 to confirm clinical benefit in diazoxide-resistant patients and select dose for Phase III. We view RZ402 program as upside to our RZLT forecast," DeGeeter commented.
All in all, other analysts echo DeGeeter's sentiment. 3 Buys and no Holds or Sells add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $25.33, the upside potential comes in at ~98%. (See RZLT 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.