The outlook for 2023 is very cloudy, as seen in the S&P 500 price action. The outlook for all stocks is not the same, however, and the analysts are rewarding those with proven performance and the ability to grow margins in the face of rising inflation.
Today's list includes Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB), Nike (NYSE: NKE) and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) because they meet those criteria, and the analysts are noticing. In addition, these stocks are the most upgrade names from the calendar Q4/FQ3 earnings season and appear well-positioned to deliver gains for investors in 2023.
Netflix's Darkest Days Are Over
The chatter from Netflix's latest earnings report and the analyst's commentary is that the darkest days are over. Those dark days were plagued by subscriber losses and weaker-than-expected subscriber figures that led to a 75% implosion in share prices. The takeaway is that Q3 figures not only came in better than expected but show a return to growth that should be sustained in the New Year. Not only is the company working against easy comps, but efforts to limit password-sharing and the new ad-supported pay tiers should help drive strength.
Regarding the analysts, the analyst's sentiment in Netflix has fallen YOY, as has the price target, but the mood is firming. The post-release activity includes 24 price target increases and a half dozen upgrades. As it is now, the price target is up versus 3 months and one month ago, and it is likely to trend higher given the outlook. The current consensus is near $320, which implies about a 13% of upside. The only downside is that consensus is still below a key resistance point at the $350 level. However, this resistance may be negated by the Q4 results, which are due mid-January 2023.
Nike Is Ready To Fly Higher
Nike shares look ready to fly higher after it reported top and bottom line strength despite the need to discount and promote sales. The company didn't give any guidance but revealed some inventory improvement, which the market needed to see. The outlook is at least favorable, given the underlying trends in business. Sales are underpinned by wholesale and DTC, with Nike Direct doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
Two dozen of the 31 analysts with current ratings issued commentary in the wake of the report. They all include a boosted or set target, and the takeaway is bullish. The sentiment is steady at Moderate Buy as it has been all year but the price target, which is down YOY, is up in the three and 1-month comparisons. This marks a bottom for the sentiment, if not the stock, and the charts also show a bottom. The next hurdle for Nike is $119, which is the Neckline of its reversal pattern. However, it could quickly move up to and above the consensus $126 range if it can get above.
Biogen Is The Most Upgraded Stock In Q4 2022
Biogen is the most upgraded stock in Q4. The company edges out both Nike and Netflix with 25 total to-date upgrades and price target increases that have the consensus price moving higher. The current consensus implies a 12% upside versus recent price action, trending higher on better-than-expected results and improved guidance.
The chart here is interesting because it suggests a very strong range for the stock and upward movement within that range. The recent release of Phase 3 results moved the stock after a decline, and now it is in the middle of the range. The boundaries are marked by two sharp movements, one at the beginning of the decline and one at the end, so it is unlikely we'll see the stock move out of it unless there is some significant change in the news. In the near to short-term, investors might expect this stock to move up toward the top of the range near $375, assuming next year's results continue to impress.