No matter your level of experience investing money on Wall Street, it's been a rough year. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and widely followed S&P 500 have pushed into correction territory (i.e., down at least 10%). Meanwhile, the technology-driven Nasdaq Composite declined close to 30% from its November all-time high, firmly placing it in a bear market.
Although big market declines can tug at investors' heartstrings, history has shown time and again that putting your money to work during these significant pullbacks is a good idea. This is why Wall Street analysts typically have a bullish outlook on many of the companies they cover.
But not all analyst price targets are created equally. According to the 12-month price targets of select Wall Street analysts, three former high-flying stocks could soar as much as 439%!
Aurora Cannabis: Implied upside of 77%
The first former highflier Wall Street believes offers significant upside potential is Canadian licensed marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis (ACB -0.13%). Based on the $6.50 Canadian ($5.04 U.S.) target from John Zamparo at CIBC, Aurora offers a hearty 77% upside from where it ended this past week.
Back in November, when CIBC had a CA$9.25 target on Aurora, Zamparo pointed to the company's international medical cannabis opportunity, as well as its cost-cutting potential, as reasons to be positive. Zamparo believed then that Aurora's managed expensing could eventually back the company into the profit column.
Unfortunately for Zamparo and Aurora Cannabis' shareholders, this previously high-flying stock has been a disaster -- and will likely remain one for the foreseeable future.
To be fair, the entire Canadian pot industry was derailed by federal and provincial regulators who dragged their feet on issuing cultivation and retail licenses. It also hasn't helped that consumers have flocked to value cannabis products, as opposed to the higher-margin derivatives licensed producers were counting on to drive their business.
But Aurora made plenty of missteps of its own, such as opening and acquiring far more cultivation space than it would ever need. At one point, the company had 15 production facilities that, if fully operational, would have yielded well over 600,000 kilos of cannabis a year. Virtually all of the company's acquisitions have resulted in significant goodwill impairment or recognition.
But even more worrisome is the fact that Aurora Cannabis continues to burn cash through its operations. Aurora's only meaningful way to increase its cash on hand has been to sell its common stock. Since mid-2014, Aurora's outstanding share count has ballooned from approximately 1.3 million shares to 224.3 million shares, as of the end of March. This persistent dilution makes Aurora Cannabis a marijuana stock that investors should continue to avoid like the plague.
Vaxart: Implied upside of 439%
If you want truly jaw-dropping upside potential, clinical-stage biotech stock Vaxart (VXRT -3.57%) may be the one to deliver it. According to Piper Sandler analyst Yasmeen Rahimi, Vaxart could surge to $18, which represents a more than quintupling of where shares closed this past week.
Rahimi's optimism is based on Vaxart's proprietary drug-development technology, Vector-Adjuvant-Antigen Standardized Technology, or VAAST. VAAST is designed to develop therapies that produce a systemic and mucosal response. The benefit of this dual response is that VAAST could be more effective in combating airborne viruses. With success in previous early stage trials, Rahimi believes VAAST somewhat de-risks the company's drug-development platform.
However, the bulk of the excitement surrounding Vaxart has to do with its development of an oral COVID-19 vaccine. An oral vaccine would change the vaccine distribution and administration landscape.
But there are big questions as to whether an oral treatment is going to be more effective than a traditional shot in the arm. Last year, Vaxart reported mixed results for a clinical study involving its COVID-19 oral tablet. Although an immune response was generated, the level of neutralizing antibodies observed was lower than with traditional injections.
The solution? The company is moving forward with a tablet specifically targeting the S-protein, which is responsible for entry into host cells and receptor viral attachment. In a study involving non-human primates the S-only tablet did demonstrate neutralizing antibody responses in mucosal sites. The company has since moved its S-only candidate into a phase 2 trial.
While Rahimi's price target isn't out of the question if this S-only candidate is wildly successful in mid-stage studies, there are still far too many questions left unanswered to get too excited about Vaxart. If my arm were twisted, I'd venture a guess that shares come nowhere near $18 over the next 12 months.
Redfin: Implied upside of 171%
Lastly, technology-focused real estate company Redfin (RDFN 0.93%) offers delectable upside. According to analyst Naved Khan of Truist Financial, this former highflier could hit $31 a share, which would represent potential upside of 171%.
Even though Khan lowered his firms' price target on Redfin by $11 a share last week after Redfin's second-quarter outlook reflected softness in housing market activity, he sees the company as being well-positioned to gobble up share in the real estate arena. Additionally, Khan pointed to the recent acquisitions of RenPath and Bay Equity as reasons Redfin's margins can expand.
The big concern for any company tied to the real estate sector is rapidly rising mortgage rates. Historically high inflation has tied the hands of the Federal Reserve and is coercing it to aggressively raise interest rates. That, in turn, has sent the 30-year mortgage rate to levels not seen in 13 years. Since homebuyers were spoiled with historically low mortgage rates for such a long period, it's impossible to tell how long it'll take before home demand is booming again.
However, I do agree with Khan that Redfin is uniquely positioned to take market share over time. One of the key Redfin advantages is that it undercuts traditional real estate firms on fees. Whereas most real estate companies charge a 2.5% or 3% listing fee/commission, Redfin charges only 1% to 1.5%, depending upon how much previous business was done with the company. Based on a median list price for active listings of $425,000 in April, Redfin could save its customers up to $8,500!
Additionally, Redfin offers a number of personalized tools that can lure buyers and sellers to its platform. For example, RedfinNow is the company's iBuying service that purchases homes for cash, thereby removing the haggling and hassle of selling a home. It also offers Concierge services that aid sellers in maximizing the value of their home.
Though Redfin will require its shareholders (which includes me, as of last week) to be patient, the reward should be worth the wait.