Looking Beyond The ‘Magnificent 7’ — Analysts Just Upgraded These Three Large-Cap Stocks

The Magnificent Seven stocks have dominated the stock market this year, driving the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index’s over 43% year-to-date gains.

The large-cap tech stocks mainly banked on the booming artificial intelligence (AI) sector and the growing popularity of the metaverse. AI chipmaker Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA) has been the best-performing Magnificent Seven stock this year, gaining over 234% year to date. Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:META) is close behind with over 193% gains over the same period.

With immense upside over the past year, many experts speculate the tech behemoths have peaked. With recession fears looming for 2024, diversifying outside of big tech can hedge investors’ portfolios in the event of a market downturn.

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As of Dec. 4, the recession probability model from the New York Federal Reserve indicates a 51.8% likelihood of a U.S. recession occurring within the next 12 months.

Irrespective of the concerning market backdrop, analysts are bullish on these large-cap stocks in the near term.

Spotify

Up over 140% year-to-date, Spotify Technology (NYSE:SPOT) is one of the biggest music streaming companies in the world.

Spotify enjoys strong financials, as its total monthly active users increased 26% year over year to 574 million in the fiscal third quarter ended Sept. 30. The company’s revenue increased 11% year over year to €3.36 billion ($3.7 billion). Operating income came in at €32 million, compared to a loss of €228 million reported in the same quarter last year.

The company slashed its workforce by 17% earlier this month, which is expected to reduce its operating expenses by roughly 2% in fiscal 2024.

“Over the last two years, we’ve put significant emphasis on building Spotify into a truly great and sustainable business — one designed to achieve our goal of being the world’s leading audio company and one that will consistently drive profitability and growth into the future,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said. “While we’ve made worthy strides, as I’ve shared many times, we still have work to do. Economic growth has slowed dramatically, and capital has become more expensive. Spotify is not an exception to these realities.”

Analysts expect Spotify’s revenue to rise by 17.3% year over year to $17.21 billion in fiscal 2024. In addition, Wall Street predicts Spotify’s earnings per share (EPS) to be $2.05 next year.

Pivotal Research recently upgraded its rating on Spotify stock from Hold to Buy, with a price target of $265, indicating a potential upside of over 39%. Rosenblatt Securities also upgraded its outlook on Spotify to Buy, with a price target of $300, which reflects a price target of over 58%.

Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA (NYSE:BUD) was caught up in a major controversy earlier this year when transgender publicist Dylan Mulvaney promoted Bud Light beer through her Instagram account, angering conservative consumers. Anheuser-Busch, the largest beer manufacturer in the U.S., reported a sharp decline in sales in the third quarter as the controversy intensified amid a nationwide boycott from conservatives.

The company has taken steps to improve its consumer rankings by rebranding its packages.

“We recognize that over the last two months, the discussion surrounding our company and Bud Light has moved away from beer, and this has impacted our consumers, our business partners and our employees,” the company said in a statement. “We are a beer company, and beer is for everyone.”

Anheuser-Busch shares have recovered, rising by over 14% over the past three months. JPMorgan expects this momentum to continue, as the financial institution has an Overweight rating on Anheuser-Busch stock with a price target of $79, reflecting a 22.5% potential upside.

Restaurant Brands International

Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE:QSR) is one of the largest restaurant companies in the world, with 2022 sales of about $39 billion at nearly 30,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

The company manages popular beverage and fast food chains such as Tim Hortons, Burger King, Firehouse Subs and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. As the holiday sales kick in, Restaurant Brands’ revenue is expected to rise 7.1% year over year in the quarter that ends in December.

RBC Capital has an Outperform on Restaurant Brands stock with a price target of $87, indicating a potential upside of nearly 12.4% from the current price. BMO also has an Outperform rating on Restaurant Brands with a price target of $85, indicating a potential upside of over 9% from the current price.

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