Do You Have These Top Epicenter Stocks On Your Watchlist Right Now?
After what has felt like the longest year for all of us, things appear to be looking up in terms of the pandemic. Because of that, epicenter stocks seem to be in trend yet again. Before we dive into the details, what exactly are epicenter stocks you might ask? Simply put, epicenter stocks consist of companies that were significantly impacted by the pandemic. With their core businesses almost or completely halted, these companies found themselves in the worst position when the pandemic hit. Hence, the name "epicenter stocks".
To highlight, the main draw for this group of stocks is that they are likely to see a surge in business once the economy reopens. Therefore, investors looking to profit from the post-pandemic market would turn towards the top epicenter stocks now. For example, we can see this in the likes of Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE: RCL) and Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL). Both companies are looking at gains of over 200% since early April 2020 despite cruises still being unable to operate.
Is Now The Right Time To Be Watching Top Epicenter Stocks?
All this is great, but the real question now would be, is it a good time to invest in epicenter stocks? Well, President Joe Biden did mention that his administration can meet vaccine demands for all U.S. adults by the end of May. This comes as Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) teams up with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) to accelerate its vaccine production. This partnered with stimulus checks leaving consumers with extra discretionary dollars does bode well for epicenter stocks. As such, here are four trending epicenter stocks to watch in March.
Top Epicenter Stocks To Buy [Or Sell] Now
- Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT)
- Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER)
- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Limited (NYSE: NCLH)
- Tripadvisor Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP)
First up is ridesharing company Lyft. In brief, the company manages a mobile app that offers vehicles for hire. Aside from that the company also has motorized scooter and bicycle-sharing systems, as well as food delivery services. It operates in over 650 cities in the U.S. and Canada. To state the obvious, Lyft's core businesses were hit hard by the pandemic. With people staying home more often, this would be the case. Despite this, LYFT stock is up by over 260% since the March 2020 lows. Given its recent operational update, I would not be surprised to see investors watching it closely.
According to CNBC, Lyft is seeing a sooner-than-expected recovery in its ridesharing business. The news broke after Lyft's latest SEC filing revealed that the company had its best week for rides in the last week of February, since the pandemic began. On top of that, the company also mentioned in the filing that it expects this trend to continue throughout March.
Meanwhile, Lyft has also been making investments in tech as well. The company is contributing to the Mobile Native Foundation (MNF) along with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Square (NYSE: SQ), and Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB). The MNF is an initiative to support the creation of open-source developer tools for mobile app creation. All in all, Lyft appears to be kicking into high gear. Do you think this makes LYFT stock worth investing in now?
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Uber Technologies Inc.
Following that, we will be looking at another ride-hailing company, Uber. For the uninitiated, the company offers consumers a plethora of services via its smartphone app of the same name. These services include ride-hailing, food and package delivery, and even pharmaceutical prescription deliveries in certain locations. Notably, Uber was quick to invest in its food-delivery services over the past few months. Back in December, it acquired food-delivery company Postmates. Following that, Uber acquired on-demand alcohol marketplace Drizly last month. Now, UBER stock has more than tripled in value since the pandemic first hit last year. Regardless, Uber does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
This appears to be the case as we have two exciting stories regarding the company this week. Firstly, it was revealed that the robotics unit of Postmates has officially spun-off into a new company, Serve Robotics. Serve CEO Ali Kashani said this in a press release yesterday, "While self-driving cars remove the driver, robotic delivery eliminates the car itself and makes deliveries sustainable and accessible to all."
Elsewhere, Uber is also rapidly expanding in the Japanese market as well. In an interview with Nikkei Asia, the company mentioned that it plans to double its transaction value this year. Safe to say, Uber is firing on all cylinders right now. With this in mind, will you be adding UBER stock to your portfolio?
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Limited
Another epicenter stock in focus now would be Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH). To summarize, it is among the largest cruise lines in the world. The company operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands. NCLH boasts a fleet of 28 ships that offer itineraries to over 490 destinations worldwide. As you'd expect, the company would be a go-to for investors looking to bank in on the post-pandemic tourism boom. Accordingly, NCLH stock has gained by over 30% year-to-date. Following a rosy outlook by analysts, I could imagine investors would be keen to invest in it.
Namely, Australian investment bank Macquarie released a positive research note on the cruise industry overall. In the release, analyst Paul Golding raised his price target for NCLH stock from $18 to $40, a whopping 122% increase. Golding mentioned that "most negative catalysts are now in the rearview mirror", citing growing vaccination numbers.
Regarding sailing, Macquarie is optimistic about operations resuming in summer around early July. Moreover, NCLH reported strong demand for its 2022 booking cycle. As of last year, the company recorded $1.2 billion in advance ticket sales. To this end, would you consider NCLH stock a buy right now?
Topping off our list is online travel company Tripadvisor. It operates the world's largest travel guidance platform of the same name. Through its platform, travelers can research vacation destinations and experiences. Aside from that, Tripadvisor also helps travelers book accommodations and make travel arrangements. As a key player in the tourism industry, it would be another top epicenter stock to know as the economy reopens. Likewise, TRIP stock has skyrocketed by over 120% over the past year. In fact, it has popped by over 6% since this week's opening bell on account of a positive analyst update.
Diving right into it, Citigroup (NYSE: C) analyst Jason Bazinet changed his TRIP stock rating from neutral to buy. Bazinet also doubled his target price for TRIP stock to $62 a share. In detail, he cites Tripadvisor's subscription service as a key reason behind his current update. Through the Tripadvisor Plus subscription, customers get access to better rates and deals on vacation services. At the price of $99 a year, subscribers will also receive special perks such as welcoming gifts and complimentary meals from hotels.
In theory, Citigroup estimates that 10 million subscribers could provide an additional $1 billion in revenue for the company. With Tripadvisor's websites drawing over 400 million visitors per month, that figure doesn't seem that impossible, to say. Nevertheless, investors appear to be buying up TRIP stock now. Will you be following suit?
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