Jefferies Makes Huge Media & Entertainment Addition to Franchise Picks List

All the Wall Street firms that we cover here at 24/7 Wall St. keep a list for their institutional and retail clients of high-conviction stock picks. These are generally the companies they not only like on a longer-term basis but those that usually have big upside to the assigned target price. With the summer already half over, many firms on Wall Street have tweaked their lists to account for potential changes the rest of 2018 and beyond, and one company has added an outstanding stock we feel could have outsized upside.

In a recent research note, the analysts at Jefferies made a big move by adding a top media and entertainment company to the firm’s well-respected Franchise Picks list of stocks to Buy. Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is the largest U.S. provider of cable services, with over 22 million basic subscribers. It owns NBCU, which includes the NBC TV Networks, Telemundo, MSNBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, CNBC and several other cable networks, as well as Universal Films and Universal Theme Parks.

Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings.

With the midterm election cycle starting up soon, this company stands to benefit big time, and a stunning 69.6% of the fund managers own the shares. Plus, the company has declined to pursue the Fox assets any further and is now focusing on a full commitment to acquiring Sky.

Investors in Comcast receive a 2.18% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $41, though the Wall Street consensus target is $46.95. The shares closed Thursday’s trading at $34.91 apiece.

In addition, here are four of the top energy stocks that also reside on the Franchise Picks list. With the price of oil dropping almost 10% in the past 10 days, all these stocks makes good sense now.

This integrated giant is a safer way for investors looking to stay or get long the energy sector, and it has big Permian Basin exposure. Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is a US-based integrated oil and gas company, with worldwide operations in exploration and production, refining and marketing, transportation and petrochemicals.

The company sports a sizable dividend and has a solid place in the sector when it comes to natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Some on Wall Street estimate that the company will have a compound annual growth rate of over 5% for the next five years.

With Permian production and asset disposals targets reset, the company can raise the dividend 20% and buyback 15% of shares. Many analysts view the strategy update as appropriately conservative for one of the more oil-levered majors. The Chevron strategy through 2020 is focused on discipline, enabled by step change in capital efficiency driven by doubling Permian production.

A progressive dividend remains Chevron’s top financial priority, but analysts expect the company will generate sufficient discretionary cash flow to fund a $26 billion repurchase program through 2020. The company expects an annual capital program of $18 billion to $20 billion will be sufficient to fund cash flow and production growth and to replace reserves.

Chevron shareholders are paid an outstanding 3.68% dividend. Jefferies has a price target of $149, and the posted consensus target is $146.03. The shares closed Thursday at $121.67.

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