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Nasdaq Hits Record Highs: Analysts Predict Major Comebacks for Tech Stocks


Leo Gonzalez

March 1, 2024 - 19:24 pm


Nasdaq's New Peaks Uncover Stocks Poised for Potential Comebacks

The Nasdaq Composite Index, known for its roster of prominent technology and semiconductor companies, recently scaled new heights as it surpassed a noteworthy milestone on Friday, achieving an all-time peak following a more than 1% gain. This ascent to record territory arrives only a day subsequent to setting another historical benchmark—the first of such occurrence dating back to November 2021. In a year earmarked by burgeoning excitement over advances in artificial intelligence, the Nasdaq's robust trajectory is particularly significant as it marked the final step amongst the trio of primary U.S. stock averages to secure a record closure within the current year.

Amid this backdrop of thriving mega-cap technology stocks, the CNBC Pro Stock Screener was put to use, sifting through the top 100 non-financial entities of the Nasdaq to spotlight those with promising projections. Emerging on this list of potential rebound candidates, according to market analysts, are reputable names such as the biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the media powerhouse Warner Bros. Discovery. These selections, currently embraced by a consensus buy rating from industry experts, share the common prospect of an anticipated 20% or greater surge relative to their average price objectives.

Biotech Bellwethers: AstraZeneca and Biogen

AstraZeneca and Biogen, both holding strong positions in the biotechnology sector, have nonetheless experienced declines of 4% and 14% year to date, respectively. Despite the downward trend, analysts maintain a robust buy consensus for both entities, projecting a significant rebound of over 26% for AstraZeneca, while Biogen could witness a jump of approximately 40%.

Scrutinizing AstraZeneca more closely, Deutsche Bank shifted its rating to sell from hold in the early days of February, based on fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations—a performance described as "underwhelming" and "soft." Nonetheless, AstraZeneca has given assurance of its prospect for revenue and core earnings per share to flourish by double-digit percentages, aiming at the horizon of 2024.

Amid a similarly challenging quarter that missed market expectations, Biogen faced a reevaluation by Wells Fargo, downgraded from overweight to equal weight status. The rationale anchored on a landscape rife with uncertainties foreseen to curb the stock's growth potential.

Moderna's Uncertain Prospects

Venturing into the health-care dominion, Moderna is another company that has caught the attention of analysts, albeit with room for wariness. HSBC's recent downgrading of Moderna to reduce from hold stems from apprehensions surrounding the longevity and efficacy of the company's Covid-19 vaccines and the ambitious personalized cancer vaccine program. Despite these concerns, an analysis from 25 experts yielded a buy or strong buy rating for 12, intimating a 35% upside based on the consensus of price targets issued by LSEG.

Energy and Media: Assets in Anticipation

Energy sector stalwart Baker Hughes and the hard-hit Warner Bros. Discovery also emerged as bullish contenders in analysts' forecasts. Both corporations are anticipated to see a spike in stock value, with Baker Hughes possibly climbing over 36% and Warner Bros. Discovery envisaged to rocket beyond 53%.

Reaffirming faith in Baker Hughes, Bank of America sustained their buy rating, though slightly adjusted the shares' price target downwards by $1.50 to rest at $37.50. A sweeping majority of 22 out of 27 LSEG-polled analysts sustain a buy or strong buy position on the stock, spurred by average price goals indicating a 35% advantage from current levels.

Bank of America analyst Saurabh Pant elaborated in his note that Baker Hughes is well-positioned to benefit significantly from heightened interest in LNG (liquefied natural gas) equipment and services, as well as the burgeoning sector of new energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Moreover, he acknowledged the company's capacity to produce compelling free cash flow, pledging to repatriate 60-80% of it back to shareholders.

Investment Considerations for Market Participants

For investors eyeing the Nasdaq for opportunities, this confluence of optimistic forecasts and present valuations can present lucrative openings. The current climate encourages a diligent exploration of each company's financial fundamentals, potential growth drivers, and industry background as they relate to these projections. The dynamic landscape of the Nasdaq, particularly within the healthcare and energy sectors, remains a fertile ground for those in search of growth and value bets.

Such analytical deep-dives into corporations like AstraZeneca, Biogen, and Moderna serve as a testament to layered nuances in the realm of investment evaluations, where even amidst trials or downgrades, a longer-term outlook could provide a canvas for significant appreciation.

Similarly, battered entities such as Warner Bros. Discovery could flirt with the prospects of a rejuvenation, as market sentiments shift and the media conglomerate's strategic maneuvers possibly start bearing fruit.

The Screening Strategy: CNBC Pro Stock Screener in Action

Investors who seek to replicate such in-depth analysis can resort to tools like the CNBC Pro Stock Screener, which offers a robust framework for sieving through an extensive database of stocks based on varying criteria. These include performance metrics, analyst ratings, and price targets, among other vital investment signifiers.

Investors have at their disposal the ability to filter efficiently through hundreds of stocks to pinpoint those that present an attractive amalgam of analyst support and potential for price ascension. With such tools readily available, the process of unearthing hidden gems within indexes as vast as the Nasdaq becomes not just a possibility but an accessible reality for the modern investor.

Concluding Thoughts: What Lies Ahead

Navigating the swift currents of the stock market is no facile endeavor, yet, for those who arm themselves with critical market insights, financial tools, and an acute sense of timing, opportunities for significant returns may unfold. The aforementioned stocks, underscored by analyst consensus—even in the face of recent downgrades—epitomize the inherent optimism woven into the tapestry of investment.

The trajectory of the Nasdaq, reflective of broader technological evolution and sector-specific advances, continues to beckon to investors willing to ride the waves of both uncertainty and resurgence. Amidst such buoyancy, the role of diligent research and informed decision-making remains a cornerstone for success in equity markets.

In the face of economic dynamics, earning narratives, and ongoing innovation, these stocks shine a light on the intricate interplay of market forces. The assured investor is one who can discern between ephemeral fluctuations and the enduring substance of a stock, thus charting a course through the complex mosaic that is the Nasdaq Composite.

It is to be seen how these companies perform as the year unfolds and whether the anticipated growth materializes as envisaged by the analysts. The narratives of AstraZeneca, Biogen, Moderna, Baker Hughes, and Warner Bros. Discovery are set to be significant indicators of the Nasdaq's broader fortitude in navigating the promising yet unpredictable terrain of the stock market.

Please Note: This news article incorporates provided news content and displays the current investing landscape, projecting the potential of select stocks as per various analysts' perspectives. The viewpoints showcased here should not be interpreted as investment advice. The matter covered in this news article is following the information available as of the knowledge cutoff date in early 2023. Each investor should exercise their due diligence before making investment decisions.