The year-end prices are actually Merrill Lynch reference prices here rather than actual formal year-end prints on the NYSE or other exchanges. These are 8 top picks with Buy ratings seen out of Merrill Lynch as a kick-off to 2016.
Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) closed out 2016 at $72.97, and Merrill Lynch has a price objective of $82.00. If you consider the 2.7% dividend yield, Merrill Lynch is calling for Texas Instruments to generate a return of 15%. What investors might want to consider is that the consensus analyst target price is $74.89, very close to the current price, but Merrill Lynch’s price objective is exactly $10 less than the most aggressive price target on Wall Street. Texas Instruments has a 52-week range of $46.73 to $75.25. RBC was also positive here on Texas Instruments and other large caps.
Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC) is another top pick from Merrill Lynch, with the firm’s $122.00 price objective being higher than the $108.82 most recent price. Norfolk Southern’s consensus analyst price target of $105.19 is actually lower than the current share price. That makes Merrill Lynch much more positive than the street even if they are just calling for 13% upside. Norfolk Southern has a 52-week range of $64.51 to $111.43.
Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES) was last at $62.90, and Merrill Lynch’s price objective was last seen at $80.00. Hess has a 52-week range of $32.41 to $65.56 and its consensus analyst price target is just at $64.75. What matters here is that Merrill Lynch actually has the highest seen street price target of major analysts.
General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD) was last trading at $173.21 versus a Merrill Lynch price objective of $200.00 for the company. That implies a gain of 15% if Merrill Lynch is right, and then there is the 1.8% dividend yield to consider for total return investors. General Dynamics has a consensus analyst target price of $186.06 and a 52-week range of $121.61 to $180.09.
Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) closed out the year at $124.45, and the firm has a $149 price objective. Aetna has a consensus analyst target of $138.93 and has a 52-week range of $92.42 to $136.50. That is still down 10% from a peak, and it remains unknown if the Trump administration will be more tolerant of insurance mergers versus that Obama administration.
Dover Corp. (NYSE: DOV) was at $75.19 at the end of 2016 and the firm has a $85.00 price objective. This is 13% in implied upside for Dover, before considering its 2.3% dividend yield.
MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is also a top pick for the first quarter, and Merrill Lynch’s price objective of $33.00 was versus a recent price of $28.50. The consensus analyst target price is a tad higher at $33.86.
SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ: SIVB) has a Buy rating at the firm, and this top pick among the bank stocks has a price objective of $190 versus a current $170.38 close. The parent of Silicon Valley Bank has a consensus analyst price target of $176.19, and its 52-week range is $77.87 to $176.77.