Wouldn’t it be nice if you could choose stocks that were certain to double your money? Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure which stocks will be the next ones to rocket upward.
However, three of our contributors think that while they’re not certain to double, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Aphria (NASDAQOTH:APHQF), and Centennial Resource Development (NASDAQ:CDEV) have a pretty good shot to do just that.
This bank could still have a long way to climb
Matt Frankel (Bank of America): Bank of America has come a long way since the financial crisis and is now firing on all cylinders. In fact, I’d argue that Bank of America’s second-quarter 2018 earnings were the best of its peer group.
Bank of America got a huge benefit from tax reform, with its effective tax rate dropping by nearly 17 percentage points and earnings soaring by 43%. Its return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA) are now well in excess of the 10% and 1% respective industry benchmarks, and its efficiency is now among the best in the sector.
While tax reform was certainly a big help, Bank of America’s strong performance goes beyond that. Loans and deposits are growing, especially in consumer banking, and Merrill Edge brokerage assets are up by a staggering 20% year over year. Trading revenue rose by 7% year over year, including 17% growth in equities trading.
Furthermore, the bank has been doing an excellent job of controlling expenses. Despite all of the growth I just mentioned, Bank of America’s noninterest expense dropped by 5% for the quarter. The bank has been investing considerable resources in technology and in making its branch network more efficient, and its efforts are certainly paying off.
Despite the excellent results, Bank of America still trades at a relatively low valuation of just 1.25 times book value. For comparison, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) trades for more than 1.6 times book and even scandal-plagued Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC)trades for a multiple of more than 1.5. In short, Bank of America has evolved into one of the best-in-breed banks, but still trades like a work in progress.
Watch this marijuana stock closely
Neha Chamaria (Aphria): After nearly 17 years of legal medical marijuana, Canada is all set to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in October. That could open up a multibillion-dollar market for companies like Aphria that have already established a strong presence in medical cannabis.
While Aphria is only one of the several Canada-based marijuana producers that are expanding capacity and production rapidly, it stands out for a couple of reasons: Aphria is among the lowest-cost cannabis producers and is already profitable, unlike most players.
That aside, its recent deals, such as the one with North America’s largest wine and spirit distributor, Southern Glazer’s, should help Aphria set up an enviable distribution network in place as the recreational marijuana market opens up. Management is actively looking for partnerships and acquisitions to expand its footprint as it prepares to exploit the recreational marijuana opportunity even as it continues to grow its medical cannabis products sales rapidly.
Alcohol companies’ growing interest in the pot market further substantiates the growth prospects for marijuana makers. Molson Coors, for instance, is reportedly looking for a Canadian cannabis partner. Guess what: Aphria just delayed its fourth-quarter earnings release to coincide with Molson Coors’ earnings release on Aug. 1. I’ll leave it to you to figure what that could mean, but the way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Aphria shares double some years down the line. Just remember — marijuana investing has its share of risks.
Unleashing a gusher
Matt DiLallo (Centennial Resource Development): In late 2016, a private-equity-backed oil industry veteran took over a small oil company with drillable land in the world-renowned Permian Basin. The transaction formed Centennial Resource Development, which became a platform to make more deals. The company quickly built a sizable position in the oil-rich region, setting it up for fast-paced growth just as the industry was beginning its recovery from a prolonged downturn.
Centennial Resource Development has already significantly boosted its oil output since the new management took over, rising a jaw-dropping 230% over 2016’s average to 19,200 barrels of oil per day (BPD) in 2017. Meanwhile, the company sees output rising another 85% this year and growing at lightning speed through 2020, when it expects to produce an average of 65,000 BPD.
The company’s rapidly expanding oil production is fueling significant earnings growth. In the past year alone, the company’s underlying earnings have skyrocketed 330%. Meanwhile, profit should continue growing at an accelerated pace in the coming years because of the company’s ability to push down costs per barrel as it increases output while also benefiting from rising oil prices, providing a dual boost to margins.
With a gusher of oil production and earnings growth on the horizon, Centennial Resource Development could generate massive returns from here, potentially doubling in value by 2020 if everything goes its way.