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Santa Rally comes early for these stocks

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The Santa Claus Rally is a year-end rally that tends to occur in the last two weeks of the year, but a few stocks always get a holiday boost early. Santa has something in his bag this year for every investor, including dividend growth, buy-and-hold and speculators. The takeaway with all of these names is that analysts' sentiment is also improving and helping to lift their markets. 

Boeing gets upgrades; shares take flight

Boeing (NYSE: BA) struggled with traction early in 2023, but that situation has changed drastically. The aerospace giant continues to amass new orders and is gaining ground on competitor Airbus. The company reported 841 new orders through the end of October, and several new deals have emerged since then. This has the analyst raising their ratings and price targets, resulting in 3 fresh upgrades on Marketbeat’s radar. 

Deutsche Bank raised its rating to Buy from Hold, citing an outlook for improved cash flow as deliveries increase. Northcoast Research also upped the stock to Buy while RBC raised it rating to Outperform. Equally important, the price target increases have a consensus target of 15% above the recent action, trending higher. The latest targets add another 15%, enough to put the market at a two-year high. 

Blue chip Boeing does not currently pay a dividend but has been a solid payer in the past. The company’s business is normalizing, which could lead to a resumption in payments over the next year or two. 

Boeing Stock chart

Analysts take a bite out of Crocs, Inc.

Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX) has suffered the same headwinds as any retail stock but performed remarkably well despite the hurdles. Now, the market is trading at a deep value of 8.2X this year’s earnings, with growth on the table. Growth is slowing and was weaker than expected in the last report but solid enough for analysts to maintain a bullish stance. Now, an upgrade is in the picture. 

Raymond James upgraded Crocs to Strong Buy with a target of $115. That is above the consensus rating of Moderate Buy and supportive of the consensus price target. The consensus target assumes a 45% upside, down 5% compared to last quarter but up 50% YOY. Shares of this stock are normalizing within a large range and confirming an uptrend within the range. 

Crox stock chart

nLIGHT, Inc. illuminates the night for Santa and his sleigh

nLIGHT, Inc. (NASDAQ: LASR) is a cutting-edge laser technology company with products in both the semiconductor and fiber laser segments. The company’s products are used in applications spanning sectors and industries, and was recently awarded a $35 million contract by the Army. The contract is for a test phase that could lead to multiple contract awards over the following 2 to 3 years and sustain growth for this micro-cap play. 

As it is, the testing contract led to two upgrades, one to Buy and one to Speculative Buy, with price targets 30% above the current action. Shares of this stock have confirmed bottom at the low end of a trading range and are heading higher. A move to the $17.50 consensus indicated by Benchmark and Needham would take the market to a new high.

nLIGHT stock chart

Smith+Nephew, the bottom is in for this Medtech

A rebound has been brewing for medtech stocks, and Smith+Nephew (NYSE: SSN) is in the mix. The latest results show YOY growth and sequential stability, with the dividend in reliable shape and the analysts raising their ratings and price targets. The analysts have issued a steady string of upgrades this year to lift the consensus to Moderate Buy from Hold with a price target about 12% above recent action. 

Growth for this company is supported by international expansion, which is still in its earliest phases. Shares of this stock are confirming a bottom and may cross a critical pivot soon. That point is near a long-term EMA and a low set in 2021 that may provide stiff resistance. A move up to the $32 level is likely if the market can get above this level. 

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