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Analysts shift attention to new market leaders in Q4

stocks to watch

Among the most significant takeaways from the Q3 earnings reporting cycle is that the analysts' attention is shifting. The shift is not so much a sector rotation but a rotation within the tech sector from leaders like Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META), NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), which topped the list of Most Upgraded Stocks early in the year. Considering that Meta, NVIDIA, and Amazon shares look a little toppy right now, and these new favorites are melting-up or trending higher, it may be time to shift some money. The good news is that the new favorites are solid tech stocks that are easy to buy (more of). 

Zscaler tops the ranks for two months

It was no fluke when Zscaler (NASDAQ: ZS) rose to the top of the ranking in October. The Q3 results confirmed the strength seen in Q2 and led the analysts to continue raising their estimates in November. Now Zscaler is in the top spot for the 2nd month with 40 revisions, reiterated ratings and initiated coverages in the last 90 days. 

The analysts' activity has the consensus price target rebounding after falling earlier this year but still lagging behind the price action. However, the most recent targets are leading the market higher and see another 18% upside for the stock price. Because the company has consistently outperformed expectations, the Q4 estimates are likely too low. The company revealed solid deal momentum in Q3, which should be leveraged by penetration to sustain growth in the high 30% range. 

ZS stock chart

Crowdstrike moves up the ranks, takes the 2nd spot

Crowdstrike (NASDAQ: CRWD) emerged as a top-five favorite stock among analysts in October and advanced to 2nd position following the Q3 release. The move edges out Adobe and FedEx, which retain a top-five ranking. Crowdstrike has 37 revisions and a Moderate Buy rating. It is also a Top Rated Stock, a Most Followed Stock and showing up on Marketbeat’s Idea Engine, so it is worth a look. 

The analysts' consensus lags behind the market but is sharply higher following the last earnings report. The caveat is that the high price target is just above the current action and may provide a headwind without another catalyst to drive the market. The Q3 results included 35% top-line growth, top and bottom-line outperformance and an increase in guidance. The company also tends to outperform consensus and has business momentum heading into calendar 2024. 

CrowdStrike Stock Chart

Adobe: a resilient blue-chip AI powerhouse

Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) has been a top-five favorite stock for analysts since the summer. The company moved down into the 3rd position with 24 analyst revisions during the period. This stock is rated a Moderate Buy and has a consensus price target trending higher. The price target is up compared to last year, last quarter and last month, leading the market higher. The consensus aligns with the recent action, but the freshest targets suggest as much as a 20% upside and a new all-time high. 

Adobe Stock chart

Progressive: What?!?

The Progressive Corporation (NYSE: PGR) came out of nowhere to nab the 4th position after reporting solid results for Q3. The company’s growth accelerated to beat the consensus estimate and led to a solid quarter for earnings. The analysts issued 18 revisions during the 90 days but only rated the stock at Hold. The consensus price target is trending and aligns with the current action. The high targets lead the market, suggesting another 20% is possible. 

PGR stock chart

FedEx is holding on by a thread

FedEx (NYSE: FDX) remains a well-loved stock with 17 recent revisions, enough for 5th position, but it is slowly losing ground, and there are some up-and-comers lower on the list. The analysts rate the stock a consensus Moderate Buy and see it advancing to a multi-year high near $280. The next catalyst is the FQ2 results, which are expected in a few weeks. Analysts are forecasting relatively flat revenue compared to last year and significantly wider margins at the mid-point estimate.

FedEx stock chart

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