Top Wall Street analysts prefer these 3 stocks for long-term growth

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The U.S. stock market started 2024 on a dismal note, but investors will need to look past the short-term uncertainty.

Rather than worrying about the slow start to the year, investors should focus on adding stocks with attractive long-term prospects to their portfolios.

With that in mind, here are three stocks favored by Wall Street’s top pros, according to TipRanks, a platform that ranks analysts based on their past performance.

Booking Holdings

This week’s first pick is Booking Holdings (BKNG), an online travel agency. The company is benefiting from strong travel demand despite a challenging macroeconomic backdrop.

Recently, Tigress Financial Partners analyst Ivan Feinseth reiterated a buy rating on Booking Holdings and increased his price target to $4,285 from $3,855. The analyst thinks that the company is well-positioned to gain from the secular shift in consumer spending trends toward travel and entertainment.

The analyst expects BKNG to witness higher bookings, driven by the continued strength in demand for travel coupled with the company’s artificial intelligence initiatives. In particular, he anticipates that the company’s AI advancements, including its Connected Trip offering, will bring down costs and enhance operating efficiencies.    

“BKNG’s strong balance sheet and cash flow will continue to drive ongoing investment in key growth initiatives and the resumption of share repurchases,” said Feinseth.

Overall, the analyst expects Booking Holdings to generate a higher return on capital, fueled by its dominant market position, solid execution, strong brand equity, diversified global presence and a technologically advanced platform.

Feinseth ranks No. 253 among more than 8,600 analysts tracked by TipRanks. His ratings have been profitable 62% of the time, delivering an average return of 10.9%. In addition, see Booking Holdings Insider Trading Activity on TipRanks. 

Nike

Athletic apparel and footwear company Nike (NKE) recently reported better-than-anticipated fiscal second-quarter earnings per share. However, the stock declined following the results as the company’s revenue fell short of estimates. Also, Nike lowered its full-year revenue outlook due to increased macro challenges, mainly in China and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).

Despite the mixed results, Baird analyst Jonathan Komp reiterated a buy rating on Nike stock with a price target of $140. The analyst thinks that the reset in NKE shares following the fiscal Q2 print provides a better entry point for investors, given the expected recovery in the company’s margins in fiscal years 2025 to 2027.

While the revised revenue outlook might trigger a debate about macro versus brand-specific headwinds, the analyst remains bullish on NKE as its $2 billion cost-savings plan, gross margin improvement opportunity, and “focus on scaling new product still provide visibility to mid-teens+ EPS growth in F2025-2027E supporting a more attractive entry at ~25X P/E on F2025E.”

In his research note, Komp also highlighted Nike’s several other positives, including the company’s brand strength, solid execution, competitive positioning and digital leadership.

Komp holds the 376th position among more than 8,600 analysts on TipRanks. His ratings have been successful 53% of the time, delivering a return of 13.6%, on average. In addition, see Nike Hedge Funds Trading Activity on TipRanks.

Micron Technology

Finally, we move to the semiconductor company Micron Technology (MU), which is one of the largest providers of memory and storage chips in the world. The company recently reported strong results for the first quarter of fiscal 2024 and issued solid guidance.

The company expects its business fundamentals to improve throughout this year and is optimistic about capturing the growing demand for AI solutions.

Following the upbeat results, JPMorgan analyst Harlan Sur reaffirmed a buy rating on MU stock and raised the price target to $105 from $90. The analyst thinks that the company’s fiscal first quarter results and better-than-projected guidance for the fiscal second quarter reflect improved demand trends and normalization of excess customer inventories.

The analyst said that these favorable developments are driving higher prices for DRAM and NAND products across several markets such as smartphones, PCs, Internet of Things (IoT), automotive and the industrial sector. While the demand in data center and enterprise end-markets remains a bit soft, management expects the excess inventory situation among its customers to improve and reach more normal levels during the first half of this year.

“We believe the stock should continue to outperform through 2024 as the market continues to discount improving revenue/margin/earnings power into CY25,” said Sur, calling MU one of his top semiconductor picks for 2024.

Sur ranks No. 98 among more than 8,600 analysts tracked by TipRanks. His ratings have been successful 67% of the time, with each delivering an average return of 19.6%. In addition, see Micron Financial Statements on TipRanks. 

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