5 Fresh Strong Buy Upgrades

Exactly two dozen stocks moved from a “B” (Buy) POWR Rating to an “A” (Strong Buy) POWR Rating this past week.  The latest entrants into the top echelon of the POWR Ratings are highlighted by BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, Appian Corporation, Zebra Technologies, Akamai Technologies and American Outdoor Brands Corporation. (Learn more about the POWR Ratings here).

Akamai Technologies, Inc. (AKAM)

Live web-based video and on-demand streaming has never been more popular.  AKAM specializes in solutions to speed up and enhance the delivery of such content.  The company also provides internet tools that facilitate business.

The average analyst price target for AKAM is $111 yet the stock is currently priced at $100.  The POWR Ratings have AKAM ranked second of 49 stocks in the Technology – Services sector, highlighted by As in all POWR Rating components but for a “B” Industry Rank. I also featured this stock in my recent article about attractive cyber security stocks. Check that out here.

BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. (BJ)

Hoarding is now a common practice thanks to the ubiquity of the coronavirus.  BJ is the one-stop shopping headquarters for food, beverages and kitchen/bathroom items of all varieties.  BJ made the leap to an A POWR Rating largely due to its stellar quarterly earnings report: 69 cents per share versus the expected 35 cents.

The stock has an A grade in all POWR Rating components but for Industry Grade in which it has a B.  The POWR Ratings have BJ ranked second of 49 stocks in the Technology – Services industry. BJ was priced at $28 on March 19 and zoomed up to $37.09 on March 22 after analysts had a chance to dissect the numbers from this bulk-size grocer.

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BJ warehouse clubs require a membership yet they have never been more popular, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  BJ should have solid numbers in the quarters to come simply because consumers don’t have much else to spend on but for groceries.  However, as the economy gradually reopens, hoarding will decline and BJ’s numbers might come back down to Earth.

Appian Corporation (APPN)

Wouldn’t it be nice if your business enjoyed the benefits of customized software without requiring a full team of on-site developers?  This is the beauty of APPN’s subscription services.  The company’s minimal code software is tailored to each individual business’s needs.  APPN serves businesses of all types in the United States and across the globe.

APPN has an A in every single POWR Rating component.  Furthermore, the POWR Ratings have APPN ranked #9 of 81 stocks in the Software – Application space.

The only question is whether APPN has upward momentum remaining to exceed its current pre-coronavirus price of $62.  Deployments of APPN solutions slowed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic so the near future might prove somewhat challenging for this tech company.

Zebra Technologies Corporation (ZBRA)

Data capture through scanners, barcode printers and handheld devices will prove that much more important in the future.  ZBRA tracking technology empowers businesses to act strategically based on unique insight.  This company’s real-time visibility solutions are in demand and will likely continue to be coveted far into the future.

With a high forecast of $250, there is still some space for ZBRA to climb before it reaches a potential ceiling.  Though ZBRA manufacturing was interrupted due to the pandemic, its quarterly earnings were impressive and the POWR Ratings have it rated second of 59 stocks in the Industrial – Machinery space.

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American Outdoor Brands Corporation (AOBC)

Aside from food and disinfectant sprays/wipes, the masses loaded up on guns and ammunition during the pandemic.  AOBC, formerly known as Smith and Wesson, made its way to the POWR Ratings “A” club thanks to the increase in firearms sales in the United States as well as other markets.

AOBC was priced at $5.95 on March 10 and quickly moved right back up to the $10 range as investors rightfully anticipated gun and ammunition sales would soar.  AOBC has As across the POWR Ratings board but for its average Industry Rank grade.  All in all, the POWR Ratings have AOBC rated second of 65 stocks in the Air/Defense Services space.

This small cap stock isn’t exactly the fastest growing company amongst those available for public trading yet it is perfectly positioned for our increasingly uncertain economy and society.  Unless a universal basic income is implemented, AOBC should continue its upward momentum simply because that many more people will purchase firearms and ammunition to protect their property.

All in all, three-quarters of AOBC net sales stem from its firearms segment so the dramatic spike in FBI background checks (up 80% in March alone) for such weapons bodes quite well for the company’s future. Buy AOBC today, hold it across posterity and it is likely to be a shining star in your portfolio.

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AKAM shares rose $0.58 (+0.58%) in premarket trading Tuesday. Year-to-date, AKAM has gained 16.93%, versus a -7.67% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

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About the Author: Patrick Ryan

Patrick Ryan has more than a dozen years of investing experience with a focus on information technology, consumer and entertainment sectors. In addition to working for StockNews, Patrick has also written for Wealth Authority and Fallon Wealth Management. More…

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