Stocks were flat to start the week after a remarkable rebound last week that broke two-week losing streaks for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500, and a four-week losing streak for the Dow. The S&P 500 finished last week with a fresh record close, but the Dow and the Nasdaq still have more catching up to do.
The market seems to be in a wait-and-see mode ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s Fed decision. The FOMC’s final scheduled policy meeting of the year is expected to include a discussion about speeding up the taper of the central bank’s bond-buying program.
Today’s trade alert highlights a compelling choice from the financial sector that garners a Buy rating from the Wall Street pros who offer recommendations. Market appreciation should contribute to mid to long-term gains, while projected acquisitions could also provide some fuel.
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Focus Financial Partners (FOCS) is a compelling choice from the financial sector right now. The company invests in Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). There’s a bevy of acquisitions in the wings that are expected to be lucrative for Focus, such as two upcoming partner firm mergers which will provide about $7 million in organic growth.
Raymond James analyst Patrick O’Shaughnessy recently broke down his bullish standpoint on the financial stock. “Market appreciation and updated margin guidance drive our estimates higher in 2021 and beyond, and with Focus’s leverage trending towards the low end of its targeted range … we could see an acceleration in acquisition activity,” he says.
Focus surpassed revenue and EPS expectations last month when it reported Q3 earnings. The consensus was looking for $0.96 EPS and $445.35 million in revenue for the quarter. The company delivered, reporting $0.98 EPS and $454.5 million.
“Our third-quarter results reflect the strong performance of our business, and we have continued to build momentum into the fourth quarter. Our financial performance exceeded our expectations on all measures, positioning us for another record year. We have a long track record of acquiring excellent firms that are value accretive, capitalizing on a growing market that is also consolidating quickly. Our pipeline is a testament to the attractiveness of our business model in a market where sellers have many choices. We manage our business and growth in a disciplined way and have a substantial market opportunity ahead of us, in both the United States and internationally,” said CFO Jim Shanahan.
Of the 8 analysts offering recommendations for the stock, all 8 rate the stock a Buy. There are no Hold or Sell ratings for the stock. A median 12-month price target of $74.50 represents a 20.63% increase from the most recent price.
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