Most investors find that the bulk of their returns come from just a few of their investments. When you can find stocks that have the potential to produce amazing results, it can be a game changer for your entire investing strategy.
Wall Street analysts definitely aren't the end-all and be-all of investing. They're just as fallible as any other investor. However, using analyst research as a starting point for your own consideration of a stock can be a smart move.
Below, we'll take a closer look at three tech stocks that Wall Street's most optimistic analysts believe will double, with an eye toward deciding whether their bullish views are realistic.
Baidu (BIDU -0.61%) has been a stock market favorite for a long time, but the stock has been exceptionally volatile in recent years. The Chinese internet-search specialist saw its share price soar from 2013 to 2018, only to lose 75% between 2018 and 2020. Even in just the past several months, Baidu's stock has been exceptionally volatile, with shares tripling between October and February and then falling by nearly half since then.
Some analysts are still optimistic about Baidu's prospects. With shares trading at around $195, the top price target on Wall Street, which comes from Barclays, is $400 per share. That would be more than a double from current levels.
The key to Baidu's renaissance in the eyes of Barclays is its success in working on artificial intelligence and cloud computing. For years, Baidu coasted on its internet-search success, allowing its peers in the Chinese internet space to pass it by. However, Barclays is optimistic that Baidu can catch up, with initiatives like the Apollo software platform for autonomous vehicles paving the way for new growth.
Concerns that Baidu and other Chinese stocks might get delisted from U.S. stock exchanges are fading fast, and that's cluing value investors into the potential these companies have. With Baidu offering a relative bargain, the Chinese internet stock looks attractive.
2. Micron Technology
Soaring demand for computing capacity has sent prices of memory chips soaring, and that's been a big boon for Micron Technology (MU -0.52%). The stock price doubled between September 2020 and April 2021, and despite a small pullback, longtime Micron shareholders have held onto most of their gains.
Yet analysts see more upside ahead. The most ambitious, Rosenblatt Securities, believes Micron stock could go from its current level around $81 per share to $165 over the next year.
The big question for Micron is how long the upward cycle in the semiconductor chip market will last. The industry is notoriously cyclical, with companies like Micron responding to shortages like this by dramatically boosting production capacity. Inevitably, the result is a glut of chips when market conditions normalize, and that creates huge waves in earnings that make apparently cheap multiples look like value traps when industry conditions turn downward.
For now, though, all signs point to continued strong demand. With chip shortages still reported in several key markets, Micron could have a long way to climb before overcapacity rears its ugly head and leads to an intermediate-term top for the stock.
Last but not least, Splunk (SPLK 0.03%) has been a volatile stock lately. The data-analytics company recently saw its stock drop back to its March 2020 lows. Even after a sizable bounce, shares remain between 30% and 40% below their best levels from last summer.
Yet some analysts see a big recovery coming from Splunk. The most optimistic pick forecasts a rise to $300 per share, which would be an all-time high for the stock.
Splunk recently made news with a big vote of confidence from a major institutional investor. Private equity company Silver Lake made a $1 billion investment in the company, purchasing convertible notes that will give Silver Lake the ability to profit from future share-price increases. Splunk intends to take the $1 billion in proceeds to buy back shares, recognizing its own opinion that its stock is undervalued.
Data analytics has been highly competitive, and Splunk hasn't been able to keep up with some of its peers. However, if the company can restart its growth engines and start catching up with the competition, it could see its stock price reflect more optimism.
Keep your eyes on these stocks
To be clear, many Wall Street analysts are less optimistic about the prospects for these three stocks. Yet when it comes to high-growth investing, fortune often favors the bold. By understanding what's driving positive sentiment for these three stocks, you can make a better call on whether they belong in your portfolio.