There is a plethora of reasons why stocks fail in any given year. Sometimes the fundamentals are just rotten, but many times either the sector falls out of favor or a geopolitical or headline incident can mar performance. 2015 was no different from any other year as some of the top performers from 2014 met with consistent selling and got absolutely hammered this year.
We screened the Merrill Lynch research database for stocks that performed well in 2014 but met with not only selling this year, but a degree of scorn from some of the analysts on Wall Street. While there is absolutely no guarantee they do indeed rebound in 2016, they certainly have been rerated to the degree where more downside seems unlikely.
All four stocks are rated Buy at Merrill Lynch.
This time last year, this company was the hottest thing on the planet. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) is the largest online and mobile commerce company as measured by gross merchandise volume, and it had the highest profile initial public offering (IPO) of 2014. The stock has acted horrible since, printing highs at $120 in mid-November of last year.
Plain and simple, the dominance in Alibaba’s core business, the very hard barrier to entry for competition and new growth opportunities like cross-border e-commerce make the stock extremely attractive. With most of the damage to the China equity markets seemingly subsided for now, the residual effect to the company may all subside some.
The company recently made a non-binding offer to acquire the 82% of Youku that Alibaba doesn’t already own. This comes as little surprise to Wall Street, given Jack Ma’s vision for digital content and delivery. While a few of the leading video sites continue to struggle, there is a ton of synergies overall in the combination.
Merrill Lynch sees Alibaba as cheap, with outstanding premium growth potential. The firm also notes that Alibaba has reached a Mobile Monetization inflection point as China Online retail continues to go online. This means that Alibaba will be able to sustain premium growth rates in its key Retail segment, which is 80% of the company’s overall revenue for at least the foreseeable future.
The Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is a conservative $101. The Thomson/First Call consensus estimate is even lower at $95.59. Shares closed Tuesday at $83.26.