A lot of stocks have been rallying this year, but the party doesn't have to end here. There are plenty of publicly traded companies that have strong catalysts that could help them double by as soon as later this year. Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) has been dealt a bad hand by regulatory merger approvers, but there could be upside after the rubble. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) could benefit from buyout speculation within its industry. Habit Burger (NASDAQ:HABT) is resonating more with consumers than with investors, something that should change over time.
These are risky investments, naturally. The ceilings are high, but we can never ignore the floor. Let's take a look at a few companies that seem promising, here, as well as the reasons to feel bullish about them.
Rite Aid has been a heartbreaker in 2017, plunging 64% this year as its potential acquisition by the parent company of the larger Walgreens chain continues to seem less likely. Rite Aid has had to agree to unload more locations to appease regulators, conceding to lower buyout prices from Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) along the way. Things didn't get any prettier last week, as reports surfaced that the FTC was preparing advice to block the proposed merger that was originally announced in late 2015.
The summertime deadline for the deal to close is approaching, and with Walgreens Boots Alliance clearly tiring it won't be a surprise if it falls apart. The issue for investors here is what Rite Aid is worth as a swinging single. The shares are now trading for less than half of where they were just before Walgreens Boots Alliance got on bended knee. Is Rite Aid really half the company it used to be? There's no denying that it's been hard to focus as a lame duck bride-in-waiting for the past 20 months. Sales growth has slowed, and profitability has fallen. However, investors shouldn't dismiss the Rite Aid that was able to execute a satisfying turnaround just ahead of attracting Walgreens Boots Alliance's interest two years ago. Rite Aid will have to dust itself off if regulators call off these nuptials, but it already has practice in turning things around.
The company that went public at the time when its FarmVille and Mafia Wars titles were all the rage as social media games are starting to show signs of life. Revenue and bookings grew at a better-than-expected rate in its latest quarter, and Zynga is armed with $720.4 million in cash and short-term securities to ride out any lulls.
They say that mobile gamers are fickle, but Zynga's biggest financial contributor -- Zynga Poker -- has been around for a decade. The shift to mobile is working, now accounting for all but 17% of Zynga's top-line results. With daily and monthly active users climbing again and payer conversion rates improving it isn't a surprise to see Zynga stock surging 44% so far in 2017.
Things could get better. Zynga has seen two of its biggest peers get snapped up last year, as Candy Crush Saga parent King Digital and Clash of Clans publisher Supercell were acquired at healthy markups. Zynga may not be next, but it's in the right place at the right time.
The Habit Restaurants
Flipping burgers is a cutthroat business, but The Habit Restaurants is finding a way to rise above. Its fast-growing Habit Burger Grill concept was awarded top honors by Consumer Reports in a 2014 reader survey for the best-tasting burger among the 21 largest eateries, and it is still drawing a crowd. It has rattled off 53 consecutive quarters of positive comps, no small feat in this "restaurant recession" environment.
The bottom line has been a challenge for Habit, but it keeps broadening its reach. It has seen its restaurants grow from 145 to 178 locations over the past year, giving it consistent double-digit revenue growth. When the market warms up to restaurant stocks again it will want to take a bite out of Habit.