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Deep Dive: These are the stocks Wall Street analysts heavily favor for 2022 and also expect to rise the most

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As the coronavirus pandemic has stretched out, investors have continued to pour money into stocks, in part because the alternatives have been dismal. Why bother with 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds that yield a paltry 1.52% when the S&P 500 index has a dividend yield of 1.30% to go along with its growth potential?

Things may change in 2022 as the Federal Reserve winds down its bond purchases that have kept long-term interest rates low. Then again, U.S. stocks have continued to rise since the Fed announced its policy changes on Dec. 15.

With U.S. bond yields already so much higher than they are in the rest of the developed world, foreign investors may continue to buy U.S. bonds and keep yields at historically low levels. And that might make for a continued flow of money into U.S. stocks.

Below are lists of stocks among the benchmark S&P 500 SPX, the S&P 400 Mid Cap Index MID and the S&P Small Cap 600 Index SML that are rated “buy” or the equivalent by at least three out of four of Wall Street analysts polled by FactSet that are expected to rise the most over the next year. Those lists are followed by a summary of analysts’ opinions of all 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA.

Large-cap favorites

Among the S&P 500, 93 stocks are rated a “buy” or the equivalent by at least 75% of analysts working for brokerage firms. Here are the 20 the analysts expect to rise the most over the next year, based on consensus price targets:

Company Ticker Industry Closing price – Dec. 30 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Share “buy” ratings Total return – 2021 through Dec. 30
Alaska Air Group Inc. ALK Airlines $51.94 $77.71 50% 93% 0%
Caesars Entertainment Inc. CZR Casinos/ Gaming $92.99 $137.36 48% 94% 25%
Generac Holdings Inc. GNRC Electrical Products $352.96 $514.11 46% 77% 55%
PayPal Holdings Inc. PYPL Data Processing Services $191.88 $273.65 43% 84% -18%
T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS Wireless Telecommunications $116.51 $165.51 42% 81% -14%
News Corp. Class A NWSA Publishing: Newspapers $22.50 $31.91 42% 88% 26%
Global Payments Inc. GPN Data Processing Services $136.29 $188.41 38% 85% -36%
Southwest Airlines Co. LUV Airlines $42.72 $57.32 34% 78% -8%
Schlumberger NV SLB Oilfield Services/ Equipment $29.82 $39.58 33% 85% 39%
Salesforce.com Inc. CRM Software $255.33 $331.46 30% 86% 15%
Bath & Body Works Inc. BBWI Apparel, Footwear Retail $69.70 $90.21 29% 86% 133%
Electronic Arts Inc. EA Recreational Products $134.46 $173.78 29% 77% -6%
Phillips 66 PSX Oil Refining/ Marketing $72.45 $93.50 29% 79% 8%
Medtronic PLC MDT Medical Specialties $104.47 $134.52 29% 85% -9%
Teleflex Inc. TFX Medical Specialties $330.89 $424.11 28% 75% -19%
General Motors Co. GM Motor Vehicles $58.13 $74.45 28% 84% 40%
Pioneer Natural Resources Co. PXD Oil & Gas Production $181.28 $231.61 28% 86% 66%
Synchrony Financial SYF Finance, Rental, Leasing $46.26 $58.74 27% 77% 36%
Comcast Corp. Class A CMCSA Cable, Satellite TV $50.59 $64.08 27% 79% -2%
EOG Resources Inc. EOG Oil & Gas Production $89.18 $112.94 27% 79% 89%
Source: FactSet

You can click the tickers for more about each company. Click here for Tomi Kilgore’s detailed guide to the wealth of information for free on the MarketWatch quote page.

Alaska Air Group Inc. ALK tops the list of analysts’ favorite large-cap stocks for 2022. The shares were flat for 2021, as investors were understandably disappointed that the travel industry’s recovery was stalled by new waves of coronavirus infections. Other travel and hospitality-related recovery plays on the list include Caesars Entertainment Inc. CZR and Southwest Airlines Co. LUV.

There are four oil-related stocks on the list, three of which rose significantly during 2021. West Texas Crude oil CL00 was up 59% for 2021 through Dec. 30 based on forward-month contracts, while the S&P 500 energy sector returned 54%.

Other stocks on the list that performed very well during 2021 and are expected to do so again in 2022 include Generac Holdings Inc. GNRC, Bath & Body Works Inc. BBWI and General Motors Co. GM.

Midcap stocks expected to show the biggest gains

The lists of “favorite” stocks are confined to those covered by at least five analysts. Among components of the S&P 400 Mid Cap Index, that leaves 92 stocks with at least 75% “buy” ratings. Here at the 20 expected to rise the most over the next year:

Company Ticker Industry Closing price – Dec. 30 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Share “buy” ratings Total return – 2021 through Dec. 30
Sunrun Inc. RUN Alternative Power Generation $34.01 $72.61 113% 77% -51%
Digital Turbine Inc. APPS Software $62.84 $104.00 65% 100% 11%
Jazz Pharmaceuticals Public Ltd. Co. JAZZ Pharmaceuticals $128.26 $200.89 57% 90% -22%
Lithia Motors Inc. LAD Specialty Stores $297.17 $460.31 55% 80% 2%
Cerence Inc. CRNC Software $77.59 $119.42 54% 100% -23%
Callaway Golf Co. ELY Recreational Products $27.63 $41.50 50% 77% 15%
Ziff Davis Inc. ZD Internet Software, Services $111.37 $166.88 50% 100% 31%
Victoria’s Secret & Co. VSCO Apparel, Footwear Retail $55.46 $82.73 49% 82% N/A
LiveRamp Holdings Inc. RAMP Data Processing Services $49.07 $73.18 49% 82% -33%
PROG Holdings Inc. PRG Finance, Rental, Leasing $44.84 $66.29 48% 75% -17%
MillerKnoll Inc. MLKN Office Equipment, Supplies $38.98 $57.60 48% 80% 17%
ChampionX Corp. CHX Chemicals: Specialty $20.01 $29.00 45% 80% 31%
Darling Ingredients Inc. DAR Agricultural Commodities, Milling $67.87 $96.79 43% 100% 18%
Axon Enterprise Inc. AXON Aerospace & Defense $156.07 $222.40 43% 91% 27%
EQT Corp. EQT Oil & Gas Production $22.04 $31.30 42% 75% 73%
IAA Inc. IAA Specialty Stores $50.43 $70.88 41% 90% -22%
HealthEquity Inc. HQY Investment Managers $43.86 $61.50 40% 75% -37%
Azenta Inc. AZTA Electronic Production Equipment $103.18 $144.60 40% 83% 53%
Vontier Corp VNT Transportation $30.89 $42.82 39% 77% -7%
SailPoint Technologies Holdings Inc. SAIL Software $48.85 $67.67 39% 93% -8%
Source: FactSet
Small-cap favorites for 2022

Among the S&P Small Cap 600, 101 stocks covered by at least five analysts have at least 75% “buy” ratings. Analysts expect these 20 of the favored stocks to rise the most over the next 12 months:

Company Ticker Industry Closing price – Dec. 30 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Share “buy” ratings Total return – 2021 through Dec. 30
UniQure NV QURE Biotechnology $20.87 $63.78 206% 89% -42%
Tactile Systems Technology Inc. TCMD Medical Specialties $19.23 $52.25 172% 100% -57%
Zynex Inc. ZYXI Medical Specialties $10.23 $22.20 117% 80% -24%
Cara Therapeutics Inc. CARA Biotechnology $12.34 $26.25 113% 75% -18%
LendingTree Inc. TREE Finance, Rental, Leasing $121.91 $238.75 96% 100% -55%
Joint Corp JYNT Hospital, Nursing Management $64.62 $126.00 95% 83% 146%
Talos Energy Inc. TALO Oil & Gas Production $10.07 $19.00 89% 100% 22%
Renewable Energy Group Inc. REGI Chemicals $42.78 $79.86 87% 80% -40%
LivePerson Inc. LPSN Internet Software, Services $36.59 $64.31 76% 79% -41%
BioLife Solutions Inc. BLFS Medical Specialties $37.44 $63.43 69% 78% -6%
OptimizeRx Corp. OPRX Data Processing Services $61.14 $103.00 68% 100% 96%
Cutera Inc. CUTR Medical Specialties $39.26 $63.40 61% 100% 63%
Select Medical Holdings Corp. SEM Hospital, Nursing Management $29.82 $47.40 59% 80% 9%
Hibbett Inc. HIBB Specialty Stores $72.00 $112.17 56% 83% 57%
Palomar Holdings Inc. PLMR Property/ Casualty Insurance $63.76 $99.14 55% 78% -28%
Coherus BioSciences Inc. CHRS Biotechnology $16.74 $25.43 52% 86% -4%
Celsius Holdings Inc. CELH Beverages: Non-Alcoholic $73.52 $110.21 50% 75% 46%
James River Group Holdings Ltd. JRVR Property/ Casualty Insurance $28.14 $41.86 49% 75% -41%
NeoGenomics Inc. NEO Medical/ Nursing Services $34.15 $50.18 47% 92% -37%
Vericel Corp. VCEL Medical Specialties $40.11 $58.46 46% 100% 30%
Source: FactSet
All 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average

Here they are, ranked by how much analysts expect them to rise over the next year:

Company Ticker Industry Closing price – Dec. 30 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Share “buy” ratings Total return – 2021 through Dec. 30
Salesforce.com Inc. CRM Software $255.33 $331.46 30% 86% 15%
Boeing Co. BA Aerospace & Defense $202.71 $259.61 28% 73% -5%
Visa Inc. Class A V Finance, Rental, Leasing $217.87 $272.62 25% 92% 0%
Walt Disney Co. DIS Cable, Satellite TV $155.93 $193.29 24% 70% -14%
Merck & Co. Inc. MRK Pharmaceuticals $77.14 $92.70 20% 60% 2%
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS Investment Banks, Brokers $385.52 $458.97 19% 67% 49%
Walmart Inc. WMT Food Retail $143.17 $169.92 19% 80% 1%
Dow Inc. DOW Chemicals $56.78 $66.62 17% 36% 7%
American Express Co. AXP Finance, Rental, Leasing $164.16 $191.35 17% 46% 37%
Honeywell International Inc. HON Industrial Conglomerates $207.11 $238.27 15% 48% -1%
Caterpillar Inc. CAT Trucks, Construction, Farm Machinery $206.08 $235.57 14% 52% 16%
Verizon Communications Inc. VZ Telecommunications $52.25 $59.57 14% 27% -7%
JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM Major Banks $158.48 $179.70 13% 61% 28%
Chevron Corp. CVX Integrated Oil $117.43 $130.74 11% 67% 46%
Nike Inc. Class B NKE Apparel, Footwear $167.49 $185.89 11% 77% 19%
Microsoft Corp. MSFT Software $339.32 $370.51 9% 90% 54%
3M Co. MMM Industrial Conglomerates $177.64 $192.06 8% 14% 5%
Coca-Cola Co. KO Beverages: Non-Alcoholic $58.78 $62.67 7% 61% 11%
Johnson & Johnson JNJ Pharmaceuticals $172.31 $183.71 7% 50% 12%
Intel Corp. INTC Semiconductors $51.74 $54.91 6% 27% 7%
International Business Machines Corp. IBM Information Technology Services $133.91 $142.07 6% 28% 17%
Amgen Inc. AMGN Biotechnology $226.47 $238.09 5% 31% 2%
Travelers Companies Inc. TRV Multi-Line Insurance $156.81 $164.06 5% 26% 14%
McDonald’s Corp. MCD Restaurants $267.21 $276.06 3% 70% 27%
Home Depot Inc. HD Home Improvement Chains $409.94 $416.83 2% 65% 58%
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. WBA Drugstore Chains $51.99 $52.80 2% 5% 35%
UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH Managed Health Care $504.43 $504.20 0% 86% 46%
Apple Inc. AAPL Telecommunications Equipment $178.20 $175.81 -1% 79% 35%
Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO Information Technology Services $63.62 $62.69 -1% 54% 46%
Procter & Gamble Co. PG Household, Personal Care $162.77 $156.67 -4% 54% 20%
Source: FactSet

Four Dow components are expected to be flat or down in 2022: UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH, Apple Inc. AAPL, Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO and Procter & Gamble Co. PG.

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