Most of the stocks in most people's portfolios are familiar names for good reason -- we tend to invest in companies we see and buy from on a regular basis. And there's nothing wrong with that. But limiting our universe of prospective stock picks to companies we encounter day in and day out ultimately limits our potential gains.
With this in mind, here's a rundown of three stocks that aren't frequently discussed on (or by) Wall Street analysts, but are worth a closer look all the same.
1. Carrier Global
Yes, this is the same Carrier Global (CARR -0.56%) that manufactures heating and air conditioning equipment. It's been around for ages, but the stock itself is less than a year old, born out of a spinoff from Raytheon Technologies in April of last year, in the early throes of the pandemic. Analysts, as well as investors, had too many other things on their minds at the time to give this outfit its due attention, and that's not changed much in the meantime. Despite its $32 billion market cap, only a handful of analysts are following Carrier.
Don't let the lack of coverage fool you, though. Despite all of last year's logistics headaches, the company's top line only slumped 6%, while operating profits improved 24%. Carrier is calling for revenue growth on the order of 5% this year, driving a 14% increase in per-share earnings. Analysts are modeling a bit more growth, but more importantly, they're modeling a similar pace of top and bottom-line growth through 2022.
The company's got an ace up its sleeve, however, that just might let it top those expectations. While it's not in a position to directly combat the spread of viruses through HVAC systems, the COVID-19 pandemic has made air quality a matter of concern to consumers as well as institutions. To this end, earlier this month Carrier launched an e-commerce site to sell air quality products online. And, it's added indoor air quality consultations to its revenue-bearing repertoire. These could provide a nice bump-up for its overall business.
It's often described as the Amazon of Latin America, and while that's a fair enough characterization, it's also an incomplete one. MercadoLibre (MELI -0.73%) could as easily be described as the PayPal of Latin America. That's because its online payment platform Mercado Pago is just as potent as its familiar North American counterpart, if not more so.
For perspective, in its most recently reported quarter -- Q3 of last year -- MercadoLibre facilitated the sale of $5.9 billion (gross) worth of merchandise, but processed $14.5 billion (again, gross) worth of digital payments. All of its businesses combined generated $1.1 billion in revenue for the three-month stretch ending in September, up 148% year over year; South Americans have altered their consumerism habits too, opting for online and contactless shopping whenever feasible. That growth rate should cool this year, but analysts still expect strong double-digit improvement.
The clincher: The flood of new business prompted by the pandemic has pushed the company out of the red and into the black, where it seems to be staying.
So why isn't Wall Street touting this incredible growth story? Geography has a lot to do with it. While professional stock pickers are willing to recommend foreign stocks, they're difficult to cover well, and often don't attract the sort of following that makes covering them worth the effort.
Don't let that detract you. MercadoLibre is still a name with a lot of potential now that it's starting to meld several e-commerce businesses in newly maturing markets like Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.
Finally, add Hasbro (HAS -0.36%) to your list of stocks to consider even if Wall Street isn't terribly interested.
On the off chance that you've kept tabs on the toymaker in recent years, you'll know the company has struggled to remain relevant. The market has shifted away from more conventional toys and toward digital ones, including video games. Simultaneously, the industry has become increasingly reliant on competitive licensing of characters featured in movie franchises like Star Wars, Frozen, and Marvel's Avengers. Most of any growth Hasbro has been able to muster in recent years is the result of acquisitions rather than organic improvements in sales of its brands like Nerf, G.I. Joe, and Tonka. It's understandable that investor interest has waned.
That disinterest could turn into a costly missed opportunity, however, given Hasbro's revitalization plans. These plans include the usage of more media platforms already available to it.
The company has frequently licensed content to streaming giant Netflix, but that partnership was taken up a notch last week when Hasbro announced its new My Little Pony film will bypass a theatrical release and instead debut exclusively through Netflix. Meanwhile, the toy company recently launched a dedicated G.I. Joe channel on YouTube. Looking past new media formats, Hasbro's e-commerce platform Hasbro Pulse and its relatively young crowdsourcing venture called HasLab may not be breadwinners yet, but they are drawing consumers into the company's digital ecosystem.
The end result of these initiatives (and others) is respectable fiscal resilience in a tough 2020, with firm sales and earnings growth expected this year and next. Only followed by 15 analysts, Wall Street hasn't yet figured out this isn't yesteryear's Hasbro. Of those analysts following the company, though, their consensus price target of $106 says shares are undervalued by about 17%.