Winter is coming, but the stock market is heating up. Despite one of the wildest years in history, the benchmark S&P 500 looks as if it'll end the year higher by double digits. That's pretty incredible considering that it lost more than a third of its value in less than five weeks during the first quarter.
Millennial investors have absolutely loved the volatility in 2020. We know this because online investing app Robinhood, which is known for its commission-free trades and stock gifts for new members, has signed up millions of new users this year. The average age of Robinhood's millions of investors is only 31.
In general, the high-risk, high-reward stocks that millennial and novice investors have chosen to pile into aren't well-liked on Wall Street. A quick look at the 35 most-held stocks on its leaderboard reveals that many are currently valued above Wall Street's consensus price target.
But there are exceptions.
Among these 35 ultra-popular Robinhood stocks are three companies with implied upside of between 12% and 83%, based on the consensus price target of Wall Street professionals. Though Wall Street isn't always right, these companies might represent bargains in an otherwise pricey market.
Nikola: Implied upside of 83%
First up is electric-vehicle manufacturer Nikola (NKLA 1.26%), which went public with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) earlier this year. Nikola closed on Monday, Dec. 14, at $16.41 a share, but has a consensus price target from Wall Street of $30. That implies 83% upside for the 33rd most-held stock on the Robinhood platform.
For many months, the buzz surrounding Nikola had revolved around its EV and hydrogen fuel-cell truck, the Badger, and a prospective equity partnership with auto giant General Motors (GM 9.38%). In September, it was reported that General Motors was close to finalizing a $2 billion equity stake in Nikola, with GM expected to handle the manufacturing of the Badger. A partnership with General Motors was viewed as validation for Nikola's first proposed mass-produced vehicle.
But the good times for Nikola now seem to be a distant memory. GM's initial proposal, including an equity stake, is off the table. The two sides agreed to a nonbinding memorandum of understanding in late November that will see Nikola integrate GM's Hydrotec fuel cell system into its commercial semitrucks. The Badger, however, has been retired before it even stepped off the assembly line.
Worse, Nikola is being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission following allegations of fraud and wrongdoing by short-side firm Hindenburg Research. Nikola's founder, Trevor Milton, also stepped down as executive chairman in a middle-of-the-night tweet in September.
Wall Street's price target for Nikola is probably way too high.
Facebook: Implied upside of 16%
An even more well known and popular stock with double-digit upside is social media kingpin Facebook (META -2.00%). Wall Street's consensus price target of $319 implies potential upside of 16%. Unlike Nikola, which has been a disaster in recent months, Facebook has a very good chance of eventually meeting and handily surpassing Wall Street's price target.
Facebook's user base makes it a powerful company. It ended September with 2.74 billion monthly active users, along with 3.21 billion family monthly active people when you include other owned assets, like WhatsApp and Instagram. No other social platform on the planet even comes close to Facebook, which makes it the clear go-to for targeted advertising. It also means Facebook holds quite a bit of ad-pricing power.
Furthermore, Facebook is still, arguably, in the early to middle innings of its expansion. While that might be hard to believe for a company that's less than $220 billion away from a $1 trillion valuation, it's only monetized two of its four core assets. The company is collecting a healthy amount of ad revenue from Facebook and Instagram, but hasn't meaningfully monetized WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Once it does open the floodgates, revenue and operating cash flow should soar.
Investors also shouldn't overlook ancillary revenue opportunities beyond ads, which make up 99% of current sales. Facebook Pay, the introduction of its own digital currency (Libra), and perhaps even a streaming offering are all ways Facebook can bolster growth and engage with its billions of users.
Microsoft: Implied upside of 12%
Lastly, there's the fifth most-held stock on Robinhood: Microsoft (MSFT -1.01%). With Wall Street's consensus calling for nearly $240 a share, Microsoft has implied upside of about 12%.
The Microsoft growth story is a tale of two catalysts. First, there are high-growth cloud solutions. In the quarter ended in September, Microsoft reported 20% year-on-year sales growth in Intelligence Cloud solutions. In particular, infrastructure services provider Azure saw sales catapult higher by 48%. Windows-, Dynamics-, and Office-based cloud hardware and service solutions also grew by a double-digit percentage from the prior-year period, with the exception of Office Commercial products and cloud services.
Microsoft's legacy software solutions hardly get any attention anymore, but they're another catalyst. Even though Windows revenue declined 5% in the most recent quarter from the prior-year period, it remains the most dominant operating platform for desktops by a longshot. The margins on Windows OEM sales are extremely high. It may not be the high-growth segment it once was, but it accounts for substantial cash flow each and every year.
Shareholders are also benefiting from Microsoft's capital return program. Even though its 1.1% yield isn't much to look at on paper, Microsoft is paying out almost $17 billion annually in dividend income. What's more, between 2017 and 2019, Microsoft repurchased in excess of $35 billion worth of its common stock, and authorized an additional $40 billion buyback last year.
High-growth cloud services, steady cash flow from legacy operations, and a healthy capital return plan are all parts of a winning equation for Microsoft shareholders.