Weekly Radar: Our Top Picks for The Coming Week

Stocks traded in a narrow range for the second week in a row ending the week slightly higher, as investors weighed slowing growth signals against signs that inflation pressures were receding a bit more than expected. The S&P 500 and the Dow both added around 1% to record their fourth positive week out of the past five, and the Nasdaq generated a fractional gain.

As earnings season moves into full gear next week, some of the world’s largest companies, including Lockheed Martin, Tesla, Johnson & Johnson, American Express, and Procter & Gamble, are set to report earnings. Although the four major U.S. banks that reported first-quarter results on Friday posted earnings gains relative to the same period last year, analysts are forecasting an average decline of 6.5% in earnings for the S&P 500 companies, which would be the most significant earnings decline since the second quarter of 2020, according to FactSet.

Despite recent market gains, the path forward in the near term may be challenging, especially as the economy weakens and potentially enters a mild recession. However, long-term investors can take heart as opportunities may arise in the coming months, particularly as markets begin to look past the slowdown towards a recovery period. Read on for our weekly stock picks and analysis to help guide your investment strategy.

Our first recommendation is not only a solid cybersecurity play but also a logical choice for anyone looking to ride the AI wave. 

CrowdStrike (CRWD)

With its Falcon platform leveraging AI and machine learning to provide real-time threat detection and response, CrowdStrike is well-positioned to benefit from the growing demand for advanced cybersecurity solutions. This company’s innovative technology and strong growth potential make it a compelling investment opportunity for investors looking to capitalize on the increasing importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital landscape.

Despite experiencing a significant drop in value in 2022, CRWD has rebounded strongly this year, with a 32% increase in its stock price. The positive sentiment from 33 out of 37 analysts who offer an optimistic view of the stock, along with the consensus Strong Buy assessment, further supports the potential of CRWD as an investment. The average price target of $165, which suggests significant upside potential of over 22%, adds to the stock’s attractiveness.

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CRISPR Therapeutics (CRSP)

CRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene editing company on the brink of commercializing the first-ever CRISPR gene therapy this year. The therapy will act as a functional cure for sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia, with a high probability of success. As such, the risk/reward scenario for the stock is attractive, considering the potential for a transformational year ahead.

On April 3, the company announced that it had completed the rolling biologics license applications (BLAs) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The BLAs seek to gain approval for the investigational treatment exagamglogene autotemcel in order to treat sickle cell disease and transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia.

CRSP is up 23% year to date and has an average price target of $84.19 among all 26 analysts with coverage of the stock. That implies an upside of about 67%. Shares rose this week by about 12% as a result of a more than 60,000 share purchase by Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest.

As borrowing costs increase due to the Fed’s tight monetary policy, many investors are turning to gold as a haven asset. And with global political conflicts on the rise, there’s no doubt that gold will continue to be an attractive option for risk-averse investors.

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Sandstorm Gold Ltd (SAND)

SAND is a gold royalty company that provides upfront financing to gold mining companies in exchange for a percentage of the future production of gold. The company’s unique business model provides investors with exposure to gold prices without the risks and costs associated with traditional mining operations.

Recent financial results have been impressive, with strong revenue growth and improved margins. Additionally, the company’s balance sheet is solid, with a healthy cash position and no long-term debt.

Technically, SAND shows bullish signals on the charts, with a 19% gain over the past month. The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is also in bullish territory, indicating that the stock has momentum on its side.

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