Investors are always looking for stocks that will perform well in the future. When you find an investment that has good prospects of doubling, therefore, it gets your attention.
Unfortunately, Wall Street analysts don't have a perfect track record of projecting what's going to happen to the stocks they cover. Sometimes, they'll put pessimistic price targets on stocks that soar. Other times, analysts are overly optimistic about companies that don't turn out to have the potential they'd hoped.
Even after a strong year in 2020, there are still stocks that Wall Street analysts think can deliver blowout returns in the near future. Let's look more closely at three stocks that Wall Street says will double and see if we agree.
1. Seabridge Gold
Seabridge Gold (SA -0.21%) has had a solid performance lately. The stock is up about 40% over the past year, although it's down slightly so far in 2021. Analysts have high expectations for the share price, setting a target of nearly $49 per share. For a stock currently fetching under $20 per share, that would be a remarkable and healthy gain.
Seabridge is an exploration-stage Canadian mining company with extensive reserves of gold, copper, and silver. The company's primary assets are located in North America, with projects in British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories of Canada, as well as the Snowstorm project in Nevada. In particular, the KSM project in the northwestern part of British Columbia has proven and probable reserves exceeding 38 million ounces of gold and 10.2 billion pounds of copper.
Gold prices have soared recently, and that's helped bolster Seabridge's prospects. However, with no mining operations yet underway, Seabridge is still speculative, and the gold stock has been volatile over the years.
Seabridge expects to conduct considerable exploration work in 2021, with the goal of further establishing its resources. Success could build further interest in Seabridge as the year progresses.
VirnetX (VHC 0.84%) has done even better than Seabridge recently, as its stock has climbed more than 65% since this time last year. Yet analysts have much higher hopes for the share price, with a price target of $36 per share representing a more than fivefold increase from current levels.
VirnetX describes itself as a provider of software and technology solutions. Yet what has gotten VirnetX the most attention in recent years has been its patent litigation efforts, as it has fought against some of the giants of the tech business -- and won. That's earned the company some criticism as a "patent troll" in some corners, and it's made the stock subject to some wild swings in both directions over time.
The latest news surrounding VirnetX has to do with its recent verdict against Apple. For more than a decade, VirnetX has alleged that Apple had violated patents regarding secure network technology. A federal district court in November 2020 awarded more than $500 million to VirnetX, adding to a $440 million win earlier that year in September.
Unfortunately for VirnetX investors, the legal process is long, and Apple continues to fight. If the victory is eventually finalized, though, it could mean a big infusion of cash for VirnetX -- and a boost to the share price.
3. Reata Pharmaceuticals
Last up is Reata Pharmaceuticals (RETA 2.98%), which hasn't done nearly as well as its peers on this list lately. The stock has lost more than half its value in the past year. Yet Wall Street hasn't lost confidence, putting an average price target of $247 per share compared to its current price around $109.
Reata is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on novel therapeutics for those with life-threatening diseases. Its innovative therapies target cellular metabolism and inflammation.
Yet last August, Reata discovered that it might have to delay filing for marketing approval with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its omaveloxolone treatment for a rare genetic disorder called Friedreich's Ataxia. Reata had hoped that phase 2 trial results would be enough to satisfy the FDA, but the regulatory agency seemed to want more data. That's problematic for rare diseases, where finding enough participants can be difficult to impossible.
Bulls still hope that Reata will be able to work its candidate treatments through the pipeline eventually. However, delay for a clinical-stage company is painful, and it's hard for shareholders to stay patient even though Reata's treatments have promise.
Risk for reward
All three of these stocks certainly have potential for growth, but they carry big risks. Of the three, Seabridge seems to have the most certainty in its long-term prospects, with only the details left to figure out. For VirnetX and Reata, however, there's more doubt about exactly what the future will bring and what it will mean for shareholders.