10 Strong Buy Stocks That Are Better Than Bitcoin

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No one can deny the huge hype bitcoin is generating right now … and for lucky investors, it has also proved a very profitable investment. But with such huge gains come huge risks — and even greater volatility.

Today, for example, bitcoin is looking heavy after sinking back to below $17,000. One possible reason is that investors are busy chasing smaller alternative currencies like litecoin. Nonetheless the currency is still up 8% over the last 7 days.

Is bitcoin a bubble? Ask the question and you will hear 1,000 different arguments. The truth is that no one knows. With so much uncertainty surrounding Bitcoin right now, it makes sense to carefully consider other options before pouring your money into the digital world.

Here are 10 stocks I believe are poised for big growth in the next 12 months. All these stocks have serious support from top analysts and big upside potential. I pinpointed these stocks using TipRanks’ innovative stock screener. The screener allows you to search for only stocks with a “Strong Buy” analyst consensus rating from the Street’s sharpest minds. These are the analysts who consistently generate high returns — meaning these are the ratings you can trust.

Now let’s dive in and take a closer look at these 10 stock picks:

Strong Buy Stocks: Heron Therapeutics (HRTX)

Strong Buy Stocks: Heron Therapeutics (HRTX)
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This innovative biopharma has huge upside potential of 111% according to the Street. And in the last year, Heron Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:HRTX) has received only buy ratings from analysts and top analysts alike. Heron specializes in post-surgical pain management and drug delivery.

Cowen & Co analyst Boris Peaker calls Heron a Best Idea for 2018. He believes the stock has room to grow, with several catalysts in 2018 that can provide significant upside. This includes HTX-011 Phase 3 data in 1H18 and commercial progress with Sustol and Civanti. According to Peaker, HTX-011 has a shot at becoming the best-in-class opioid alternative for post-surgical pain. He has a $40 price target on the stock (154% upside).

“We expect Phase 3 postoperative pain results for HTX-011 in 1H18. We believe the Phase 3 data will be the most important catalyst for HRTX in 2018, which we anticipate to be followed by a new drug application [NDA] filing in 2H18 and approval in 1H19” wrote Peaker on Dec. 6.

Strong Buy Stocks: Applied Materials (AMAT)

Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) is one of my favorite stocks right now. The company supplies equipment, services and software for the manufacture of semiconductor chips. In turn, these chips are used for computers, smartphones, televisions, and even solar products.

AMAT has a stellar rating from the Street with 13 straight buy ratings in three months. No hold or sell ratings here. Plus these analysts see the stock hitting $65 over the coming months — 27% upside potential.

We are impressed with high quality momentum into C1H18” says B Riley’s Craig Ellis — the second best analyst out of 4,720 ranked by TipRanks. He calls the stock a “diversified grower well positioned for multi-year gains” and ramps up his price target $8 to $71 (38% upside).

“We believe another stellar quarterly execution performance shows AMAT’s new product engine is firing on all cylinders and producing expansion and share gains at surprisingly attractive margins. In our view, AMAT’s growth story remains the most diversified in large-cap Semi Caps, and we are encouraged with mgmt’s high quality view through 2018” concludes Ellis.

Strong Buy Stocks: Microsoft (MSFT)

Is MSFT Stock Heading for a Trillion-Dollar Market Cap?
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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), the world’s largest software company, is set for a very strong 2018. The stock has 100% Street support with 16 consecutive buy ratings in the last three months. These top analysts are anticipating just over 13% upside potential for the next 12 months.

Top Evercore analyst Kirk Materne says he sees a “visible path” to Microsoft reaching a market capitalization of $1 trillion, or $128 per share, by 2020, if not sooner. Azure, Microsoft’s fast-growing cloud platform, and Office 365 can power this growth according to Materne. He believes Azure and Office 365 could hit $49 billion in revenue by fiscal 2021. Materne currently has a $106 price target on MSFT (25% upside).

Similarly Bernstein analyst Mark Moerdler’s semi-annual CIO survey shows that Microsoft Azure continues to gain mindshare and momentum. Indeed, he even suggests that Azure’s customer count could beat Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Web Services among enterprise users.

Strong Buy Stocks: Lam Research (LRCX)

Strong Buy Stocks: Lam Research (LRCX)
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On Dec. 7, five-star Nomura analyst Romit Shah upgraded semiconductor stock Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX) from “hold” to “buy.” He calls the recent pullback in shares from $220 to $180 an “early Christmas gift” for investors with a 12-month horizon. Bear in mind that even with this weakness, shares are still up 74% year-to-date.

Shah believes Lam will be the biggest beneficiary in his coverage of the U.S. repatriation tax plan. With this repatriated profit, Lam Research could buy back approx. $5 billion-$6 billion in shares, boosting calendar year 2018 GAAP EPS by about $1.19. Plus, he adds that memory fundamentals are strong and expects revenue outperformance for 1H18.

Note that TipRanks places Shah at No. 178 out of over 4,700 tracked analysts. In the last three months, 11 out of 12 top analysts have published buy ratings on LRCX. Given the current share price, these analysts are predicting (on average) almost 24% upside potential.

Strong Buy Stocks: Broadcom (AVGO)

Semiconductor leader Broadcom Ltd (NASDAQ:AVGO) has one of the best outlooks from the Street. In the last three months, this stock has scored 24 straight buy ratings from top analysts. With strong Q4 results in mind, analysts have been busy ramping up their price targets. Now the average analyst price target of $319 suggests further growth of 23%.

Raymond James’ Chris Caso has just added AVGO to the firm’s Analyst Current Favorites list. He says: “We continue to see a number of tangible catalysts over the next 18 months, including potential revenue upside from iPhone content gains, increasing cash flow from declining capex and the pending Brocade acquisition, and a sizeable return of that cash flow to investors through an increased dividend.”

He believes that even though the stock is an analyst favorite, valuation still doesn’t fully reflect this sentiment. Caso has a bullish $335 price target on AVGO (30% upside).

Strong Buy Stocks: IMAX (IMAX)

Strong Buy Stocks: IMAX (IMAX)

Top B Riley analyst Eric Wold is eagerly anticipating how theater company IMAX Corp (USA) (NYSE:IMAX) stands to benefit from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He believes the movie has the power to push IMAX’s 4Q17 global box office into the $310 million- $315 million range, easily beating consensus of $270 million-$280 million.

“Although movie-goer response to a film slate will always be somewhat uncertain (as was the case this past summer), we believe the upcoming film slate for 2018 is very reminiscent of the powerful slate experienced during 2015, which helped push IMAX per screen box office averages to multiyear highs” says Wold.

With that in mind, he recommends building/adding to positions in IMAX shares at current levels and especially ahead of the positive indicators that the new Star Wars film could provide. The four-star analyst has a $35 price target on IMAX indicating big upside potential of 43%.

Wold isn’t alone in his bullish take on this stock. Over the last three months, four top analysts have published buy ratings on IMAX. Encouragingly, this also includes rating upgrades from both Barrington and JP Morgan.

Strong Buy Stocks: Albireo Pharma (ALBO)

Strong Buy Stocks: Albireo Pharma (ALBO)
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Top analysts believe this UK-based biotech has very significant upside potential of over 160%. Plus the stock has received only buy ratings over the last year. Albireo Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALBO) develops novel bile acid modulators to address unmet needs in liver and gastrointestinal diseases. The company was spun out from AstraZeneca back in 2008. Crucially, its wholly owned lead product candidate A4250 is now nearing initiation of Phase 3 clinical development.

“We think ALBO has a promising bile acid modulators platform that already generated several drug candidates with encouraging POC data” says Cowen & Co’s Ritu Baral. She is a Top 100 analyst on TipRanks. Meanwhile the company has already submitted a regulatory approval in Japan for elobixibat (chronic idiopathic constipation). She doesn’t have a price target on the stock. But we can see that Roth Capital’s Yasmeen Rahimi initiated coverage with a $92 price target last month — suggesting almost 300% upside potential from the current share price!

Strong Buy Stocks: Evolent Health (EVH)

Strong Buy Stocks: Evolent Health (EVH)
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From a Street perspective, this is a first-class stock with a lot of potential. Evolent Health Inc(NYSE:EVH) sells software and consulting services to help healthcare providers, like hospital systems, offer care at lower costs. In the last eight months, EVH has received only buy ratings from the Street, with 7 top analyst buy ratings in the last three months alone. The best part: with an average price target of $23.50, analysts see prices spiking over 80% in the coming months.

“While there remain some moving parts to 2018, the risk/reward tradeoff (with over 133% upside to our price target), in our opinion, remains very compelling” says five-star Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Steven Halper. He reiterated his buy rating with a $30 price target on December 9. Meanwhile Oppenheimer’s Mohan Naidu selects EVH as his Top Outperforming Idea right now.

He says: “Evolent is one of the few vendors well positioned to help health systems that intend to transition to risk-based reimbursement models. The systems need significant help… While there is competition, we believe EVH is differentiated in its proven ability, technology offerings, service and credibility in helping organizations make the switch successfully.

Strong Buy Stocks: Peak Resorts (SKIS)

Missouri-based Peak Resorts Inc (NASDAQ:SKIS) is a “Strong Buy” cheap stock to track right now. SKIS owns and operates 12 ski resorts across the Midwest and Northeast U.S. In the last five days, three top analysts have published buy ratings on SKIS. The average target price of these analysts: $6.67 — about 30% above the current share price.

“At Mount Snow, Peak’s largest resort, skier visits jumped 70% YOY over Thanksgiving weekend” points out B Riley’s Barton Crockett. He points out that SKIS is trading far below peers and says “We find the valuation disparity and Peak’s dominant position the NYC metro and Ohio drive-to-ski regions enticing at a time of snowballing (pun intended) consolidation in the ski industry.”

Strong Buy Stocks: Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT)

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Global Blood Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:GBT) is a clinical-stage biopharma that focuses on treating blood-based disorders. The company has just released data from a study using its drug voxelotor for severe sickle cell disease. And as a result, six analysts have reiterated their buy ratings on the stock in the last couple of days. Top analysts are now looking at an average of 85% upside potential for GBT to $70.

Four-star Nomura analyst Christopher Marai ramped up his price target from $50 all the way to $91 on Dec. 11. He says the data presented confirmed prior expectations for voxelotor and sees the ongoing Hope Phase 3 trial as further derisked. At this point, he recommends buying the stock ahead of the study readout in the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, Oppenheimer’s Mark Breidenbach calls GBT his Top Stock Idea right now “based on our optimism that the company’s Phase 3 asset, GBT440, could find regulatory and commercial success in sickle cell disease (SCD) and may substantially improve the standard of care in this indication.” Interestingly he also sees GBT as a takeout target in 2018 — which could give shareholders a sweet profit boost.

Which stocks are the top 25 analysts recommending right now? Find out here.

As of this writing, Harriet Lefton did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.