It's (almost) official, folks: We have (kind of) a bear market!
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling as much as 20% below its highest closing price of last month, the venerable index of American blue chips finally dipped into bear market territory on Wednesday, the same day that -- not coincidentally -- the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global "pandemic."
Technically, of course, some might argue that for a real bear market, the Dow needs to move 20% below its last best high, and stay there till the closing bell. The fact that the index recovered slightly to close down "only" 19% below its previous high, therefore, may give nitpickers enough wiggle room to argue that we didn't actually achieve bear market status on Wednesday.
But hey! There's always Thursday, right?
Kidding aside, the fact that the Dow (and the Nasdaq, and the S&P 500, and the Russell 2000...) have fallen umpteen percent in a matter of a couple of weeks is bound to get some investors thinking that now might be a good time to start bottom-fishing for bargains in the stock market -- official bear market or no. In fact, amidst all the market turmoil Wednesday, one brave investment banker began doing just that: Sifting through the rubble, and searching for bargains.
Here's what Rosenblatt Securities' analysts came up with yesterday:
Rosenblatt's Mark Zgutowicz offers up GoDaddy stock as the banker's first tech pick of the day. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based domain registration company has been hard hit in the tech rout, falling 25% in share price over the past three weeks. And yet, Zgutowicz argues this now leaves the stock "attractively-priced in both absolute and relative terms."
Why are these analysts so optimistic? GoDaddy maintains "dominant positioning with over 19M customers," explains Zgutowicz, and its "refreshed global brand" positions the company to develop "more and deeper customer engagements with high margin products" including "Websites + Marketing" and "Managed WordPress" going forward. Leveraging its existing client base and selling them on these new products, Zgutowicz could conceivably grow its profits 30% this year (to $0.99 per share), and then grow them another 25% in 2021 (to $1.25 a share).
Furthermore, the analyst believes GoDaddy’s upcoming April 2nd Investor Day should be a catalyst for the shares. "While ’20 guidance was provided on the 4Q earnings call, we expect the company to provide a new LT growth forecast, perhaps by segment, which may alleviate some questions about moderating domain and hosting growth. In this regard, we would not be surprised to see a floor put in place for both domain and hosting LT growth, which we believe will provide a nice stabilizer for the stock," the analyst opined.
In Zgutowicz's estimation, this is fast enough growth to justify a "buy" rating on GoDaddy stock as well. From a Wednesday closing price just above $58, he predicts these shares could rise as high as $88 over the next 12 months -- a near 52% return. (To watch Zgutowicz's track record, click here)
Interestingly, this prediction is almost precisely what other analysts have valued GoDaddy at. Among of the eight analysts who've ventured an opinion on GoDaddy in the last month, each and every one of them a "buy" rating by the way, the overwhelming consensus is that GoDaddy shares are worth about $88.88 per share. So, the message is clear: GDDY is a Strong Buy. (See GoDaddy stock analysis on TipRanks)
PTC Inc. (PTC)
Let's continue with Boston-based PTC. The software and services company behind the "Creo" suite of product design software has been hit pretty hard by the coronavirus-inspired tech selloff, losing about 33% of its market cap in the last three weeks. In a note Wednesday, Rosenblatt analyst Yun Kim observed that investors seem to be reacting to PTC's "relatively large exposure" -- about 30% of its revenues -- to industrial clients in the retail and airline sectors, which could suffer in a coming recession.
That being said, Kim believes that the company's "recent transition to a ratable revenue model," where more of the business derives from recurring revenue from existing customers, should insulate PTC somewhat from any economic turbulence.
"ARR growth," says Kim, "is more driven by the sustainability of [PTC's] churn rate" among existing customers rather than by acquiring new customers. And last time America faced a recession, in 2009, the company "didn't experience any deterioration in its churn rate." Moreover, here today PTC is says its churn rate has recently "modestly improved," and management believes that "it can grow its ARR at least in the low-teens for the current F2Q even without any new business bookings for the rest of the quarter."
Kim is predicting that despite the current economic troubles, PTC will successfully grow its profits as much as 40% this year (to $2.30 per diluted share) and a further 12% in 2021. If he's right about that, Kim thinks the stock could be worth as much as $105 a share -- as much as 76% above where it trades today. (To watch Kim's track record, click here)
All in all, cautious optimism circles this software maker, as TipRanks analytics exhibit PTC as a Buy. Out of 9 analysts tracked by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 5 are bullish on PTC stock, while 4 remain sidelined. With a return potential of nearly 50%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $90.22. (See GoDaddy stock analysis on TipRanks)
Next up from Rosenblatt is another pick by Mr. Kim: San Francisco-based real-time operational intelligence software provider Splunk.
Down 31% from where it traded three weeks ago, Splunk stock looks like another bargain to Kim, who values the shares at $200, even -- about 66% above where they trade today
Why is it a bargain? Once again, Kim's analysis focuses on ARR, "the key metric that reflects the company's actual business momentum." Annual recurring revenue, explains Kim, was up 54% in Q4 2019, accelerating from the 50% growth rate Splunk was showing a year ago.
Management at Splunk is forecasting "mid-40s" ARR growth this year -- and not only this year, but 40% average growth rates all the way through fiscal 2023, numbers that "we believe will be received positively by investors," understated the analyst. Furthermore, Kim confirms that, in his view at least, "SPLK's ARR growth guidance is highly achievable."
While other investors are worrying about the short-term effects of coronavirus, Kim argues that Splunk is forging ahead and "emerging as a de facto standard in the infrastructure and security management platform market, which positions the company well for the next stage of growth."
Other analysts share a similar enthusiasm with Kim when it comes to the data analytics giant. TipRanks data shows out of 23 analysts, 20 are bullish and only 3 are sidelined. With a consensus price target of $179.55, the potential upside here stands at nearly 50%. (See Splunk stock analysis on TipRanks)