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3 ‘Perfect 10’ Stocks To Beat Market Volatility

Published 23/09/2021, 13:49

Volatility is back on the menu. U.S. stocks began the week deeply in the red as investors grappled with a number of risks, including a possible shift in Federal Reserve guidance this week that could hurt corporate profits. There are also concerns that Evergrande – a major Chinese property developer – could default on its hundreds of billions in debt and trigger a financial crisis beyond China.

The key to success in this environment is really the same as in ‘normal’ times. Look for stocks with sound fundamentals and a history of success. Yes, past performance is no guarantee of future returns, but a history of share price growth is a good indicator. After all, growth stocks are growing for a reason.

We’ve used the Investing Insights to pull up the details on three such growth stocks that have shown sustained gains over the past year – gains of 70% or more. And even better, for investors seeking a growth profile, each name scores a ‘Perfect 10’ smart score. Let’s take a closer look.

TravelCenters of America (TA)

We’ll begin with TravelCenters of America (NASDAQ:TA), and as befitting a company with such a grand name, TA is the United States’ largest publicly traded full-service truck stop and travel center company. Under its various brands, at its 270 full-service locations across 44 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario, it offers a wide array of services and products. These include fuel, convenience stores, restaurants and truck services, amongst others.

If we’re on the subject of stocks boasting huge gains, then TravelCenters fits the bill perfectly — the stock is up 135% over the 12 months. TA’s stock market performance is in-line with its real-world achievements, as exhibited in the company’s latest blowout earnings.

In 2Q21, revenue came in at $1.83 billion, amounting to an 85.6% year-over-year increase while beating the estimates by $80 million. There was a big beat on the bottom-line too, as EPS of $2.02 beat the Street’s call by $2.03.

It’s a performance which has caught the eye of BTIG’s James Sullivan, who thinks the company’s transformation plan is being successfully implemented and believes the “course is set for continued upward performance.”

“TravelCenters reported a material 2Q21 beat on the per-share and EBITDA lines as many elements of its strategy initiatives appeared to deliver under the new management team,” the analyst went on to say. “The company’s top line and margin gains have been healthy for several reasons, but perhaps the core factor has been the increase in diesel gallons sold, which indicates higher average traffic at its properties. Given that trucking volumes have generally been flattening following a significant increase since the bottom in April 2020, TA appears to be taking market share.”

Accordingly, Sullivan rates TA stock a Buy and has a $76 price target for the shares, indicating further upside of 72%.

There are 2 other recent TA reviews on record, and both are positive, making for a Strong Buy analyst consensus rating here. The average price target currently stands at $53, suggesting room for a 20% uptick over the coming months. (See TA stock analysis)

TA Smart Score

Kezar Life Sciences (KZR)

For the next monster growth stock, we’ll take a sharp turn into the biotech sector, a segment well known for the potential of delivering investors huge returns – or huge losses for that matter, should development go awry.

While Kezar Life Sciences (NASDAQ:KZR) stock has already amassed 75% of gains year-to-date, Street analysts think more is in store over the coming months.

The company’s focus is on pioneering breakthrough treatments for immune-mediated and oncologic disorders. Kezar is developing first-in-class, small molecule therapies which via single, powerful targets, control master regulators of cellular function to hinder multiple drivers of disease. The company’s aim is to have a meaningful clinical effect on the most difficult-to-treat diseases and give patients the prospect of living better lives.

Kezar’s pipeline boasts two small molecule drug candidates; first-in-class protein secretion inhibitor KZR-261, which goes after the Sec61 translocon and which in preclinical models has shown broad anti-tumor activity. The company has submitted to the FDA an investigational new drug (IND) application, with the intention of moving forward with a Phase 1 clinical study which will evaluate the safety, tolerability and preliminary tumor activity of KZR-261 in solid tumors.

Further ahead in development is KZR-616, a selective inhibitor of the immunoproteasome, which has been earmarked as a therapy for chronic autoimmune diseases – currently in clinical studies as a treatment for lupus nephritis (LN) and polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM).

Recently, the company announced that the Phase 2 clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of KZR-616 for the treatment of polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM) had met the enrollment target of 24 subjects.

As for the former indication, in August 2020, the amended Phase 2 open-label segment of the MISSION trial for patients with active, proliferative LN opened for enrollment, with recruitment still ongoing. This follows on from a successful phase 1b study.

There are catalysts on the horizon to look forward to, as noted by Jefferies’ Maury Raycroft.

“Company continues to execute on ‘616 ph.IIs (LN & DM+PM) w/ stock-moving LN Ph.II data (n~9) late-’21 (est ACR’21), where we could see ‘616 speed, depth, & breadth in challenging paients on one/more background meds,” the analyst said. “Final SLE ph.Ib data at EULAR showed improvements across multiple exploratory measures. 2Q highlight was ‘261 Sec61 inhibitor IND filed for solid tumors; company aims to host an R&D teach-in day in 4Q. We see stock as cheap w/ attractive setup YE21 and in ’22.”

To this end, Raycroft rates KZR shares a Buy, backed by a $15 price target, suggesting one-year gains of 64%.

Raycroft’s assessment gets the backing of two other recent Buys which all together coalesce to a Strong Buy consensus rating. The forecast calls for 12-month upside of 64%, given the average price target clocks in at $13.67. (See KZR stock analysis)

KZR Smart Score

Group 1 Automotive (GPI)

Lastly, we’ll once again wander down a different lane. As the name suggests, Group 1 Automotive (NYSE:GPI) is an auto industry player, specifically in the retail section. The company is one of the largest dealership groups in the US, with operations in 15 states, and its footprint extends to the U.K. and Brazil. GPI sells both new and used cars, light trucks and vehicle parts. The company also takes care of related vehicle financing, sells service contracts and offers maintenance and repair services.

It’s a model which has seen the company reap the rewards from strong new and used demand in the US, as exhibited from the excellent set of results in its latest quarterly report – for 2Q21.

Boosted by a record performance from new and used vehicles sold in the US, the recovery of its Parts & Service segment, and cost reductions, EPS of $10.35 beat the analysts forecast – by $1.59. the company delivered on the top-line too, as revenue increased by 74.5% from the same period last year to $3.7 billion, in the process beating the Street’s expectations by $390 million.

The stock market has taken note and has also been kind; over the past 12 months, shares have more than doubled in value. There’s more on the way, according to Benchmark analyst Michael Ward.

The analyst considers GPI stock a Buy and his $300 price target could deliver further returns of 64% in the year ahead.

Of GPI’s prospects, the analyst writes, “We expect the positive market trends in the US to continue into 2022, the recovering Parts & Services business should provide additional momentum, GPI’s digital platform, AcceleRide, is positioned to capture market share from online retailing, and an improving UK market (about 20% of GPI) could provide an additional tailwind.”

Like the other growth names on this list, GPI also boasts a Strong Buy consensus rating, based on 3 Buys vs. 1 Hold. The average price target comes in at $229, which suggests share appreciation of ~25% over the next 12 months. (See GPI stock analysis)

GPI Smart Score

To find more ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit Investing Insights.

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