Stocks to buy

Peruse the Internet and you’ll eventually see opinions deriding top analyst recommended stocks as nothing but a clown show. Sure enough, many experts do get it wrong because let’s face it: if someone could truly predict the market consistently even 70% of the time, they wouldn’t be on TV. Instead, they would just use their system (quietly) to make an infinite amount of money.

However, no such system exists and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to suggest it will never exist. Fortunately, regular retail investors that don’t have the time to dedicate to careful equities research can resort to the next best thing: target Wall Street’s favorite stocks.

No, it’s not as sexy as having a crystal ball, I’ll give you that. However, crystal balls and any system claiming to replicate their consistency and predictability are pure fiction. Analysts, as flawed as they may be, are real. Plus, you’re often dealing with some of the brightest and most well-educated minds on the Street.

That’s not a guarantee for anything. However, you can probably acquire the best stocks to buy now through their guidance as opposed to unproven methodologies.

Top Analyst Recommended Stocks: Palo Alto Networks (PANW)

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A global cybersecurity leader, Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) makes an easy case for top analyst recommended stocks. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, costs associated with digital crimes may grow by 15% per year over the next five years, culminating in $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Therefore, it’s imperative that the top enterprises and institutions protect themselves. This dynamic should help undergird PANW stock for years to come.

Thanks to the glaringly obvious fundamental relevancy, analysts peg PANW as a consensus strong buy. Regarding individual ratings, this breaks down to 28 buys, one hold, and no sells. Further, the average price target lands at $240.79, implying just over 8% upside potential. The highest target calls for $265, representing nearly 19% growth.

Financially, Palo Alto’s best stat arguably centers on its three-year revenue growth rate (on a per-share basis) of 22.1%. This stat beats out 77.44% of companies listed in the software industry. However, it trades for nearly 44 times forward earnings, which is a tad bit on the overvalued side. Still, for Wall Street’s favorite stocks, PANW makes sense across the board.

Top Analyst Recommended Stocks: Pure Storage (PSTG)

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Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Pure Storage (NYSE:PSTG) is a technology firm that develops all-flash data storage hardware and software products. Per its public profile, Pure Storage gives technologists back their time through its Storage as a Service model that runs seamlessly across multiple cloud networks. Since the beginning of this year, PSTG soared to over 27%.

As one of the most relevant tech plays, it’s no shocker that PSTG ranks among the top analyst recommended stocks. Per TipRanks, analysts peg PSTG as a consensus strong buy. This assessment breaks down as 11 buys, one hold and zero sells. Moreover, the experts’ average price target hits $38.17, implying over 10% upside potential. The top estimate calls for $44, implying over 27% growth.

On the fiscal side, Pure Storage rates highly for its operational stats. Its three-year revenue growth rate pings at 7.7%, above 61.68% of its peers. Also, its free cash flow growth rate during the same period clocks in at 69.8%, above 93.2%. However, the valuation may be a concern to some. Currently, PSTG trades at nearly 22 times forward earnings. Still, the underlying relevance makes it one of the best stocks to buy now.

Top Analyst Recommended Stocks: Kroger (KR)

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As a grocery store giant, Kroger (NYSE:KR) is practically a no-brainer for top analyst recommended stocks. Considering the headwinds that households face – stubborn inflation, rising borrowing costs, mass layoffs, and regional bank failures to name but a few – anxieties regarding a recession appear justified. In that case, people will funnel their spending down to the essentials. It’s just common sense.

A predictable outlay, covering analysts peg KR as a consensus strong buy.  Their assessment breaks down as three buys, one hold and zero sells. On average, the experts’ price target stands at $59.25, implying over 29% upside potential. At the highest, a price target calls for $75. If so, we’re talking about nearly 64% growth. Thus, it’s a solid idea for high-potential stocks.

By the numbers, Kroger’s strengths lie in its operational prowess and consistent profitability. Its three-year revenue growth rate pings at 10.3%, above 70.73% of sector rivals. Also, Kroger’s return on equity comes in at 23.13%, beating out 83.11% of its peers. KR also trades at only 10.24 times forward earnings, making it an undervalued idea for best stocks for investment.

Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE)

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Based in Newport Beach, California, Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE) bills itself as the leading provider of the cleanest fuel for the transportation market in the U.S. and Canada. Through its renewable natural gas business, Clean Energy allows thousands of vehicle fleets to reduce their climate-harming greenhouse gas by at least 70%, per its public profile. Thus, it’s one of the most relevant ideas for top analyst recommended stocks.

Given the hype train over various go-green initiatives, it’s not shocking that the Street is enthusiastic about CLNE. Per TipRanks, analysts peg shares as a unanimous strong buy. This assessment breaks down as five buys and obviously zero holds nor sells. On average, the experts’ price target clocks in at $6.56, implying just over 48% upside potential. The high side calls for $7, implying 58% growth.

While it might seem like a must-have among the best stocks to buy now, Clean Energy runs an aspirational business. Its main strength financially centers on its balance sheet and that’s not saying much. Also, shares slipped 13% since the beginning of this year. However, interest in its core business could soar, making it worthwhile speculation.

Northern Oil and Gas (NOG)

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Hailing from Minnetonka, Minnesota, Northern Oil and Gas (NYSE:NOG) bills itself as a company with a primary strategy of investing in non-operated minority working and mineral interests in oil and gas properties. Its core area of focus, per its public profile, lies in the Williston Basin Bakken and Three Forks play in North Dakota and Montana.

At first glance, Northern Oil might not seem relevant due to the aforementioned interest in green and sustainable energy infrastructures. However, fossil fuels will likely command significant demand for longer than many folks realize because of their energy density.

Either way, it’s one of the top analyst recommended stocks. Per TipRanks, experts peg shares as a unanimous strong buy. Here, the assessment breaks down as six out of six posting a buy recommendation. Overall, the Street’s market professionals anticipate shares hitting $47, implying over 42% upside potential. The max price target calls for $59, implying over 78% growth. Thus, it might be a shoo-in for high-potential stocks. Financially, the company’s best strength centers on profitability, with a trailing-year net margin of 67.42%.

Vera Therapeutics (VERA)

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Based in Brisbane, California, Vera Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VERA) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing treatments for immunological diseases that improve patients’ lives. Per its website, Vera’s lead clinical candidate is atacicept, a fusion protein that acts as an inhibitor of B cells and plasma cells, the cells that can produce disease-causing antibodies. Thanks to its scientific relevance, VERA ranks among the top analyst recommended stocks.

However, it’s a high-risk, high-reward play. Since the Jan. opener, VERA dropped more than 52% in equity value. Nevertheless, analysts peg shares as a consensus strong buy. This assessment breaks down as four buys, one hold and zero sells. On average, their price target comes in at $16, implying nearly 84% upside potential. The high target calls for $23, implying over 164% growth.

Financially, Vera presents a rather predictable picture for high-potential (but high-risk) biotech plays. Operationally, the company is a bit of a mess, with a three-year EBITDA growth rate of 6.1% below zero. However, it offers modest stability in the balance sheet. But yeah, VERA’s a gamble among Wall Street’s favorite stocks.

Rent the Runway (RENT)

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An intriguing idea among top analyst recommended stocks, Rent the Runway (NASDAQ:RENT) is an e-commerce platform that allows users to rent, subscribe, or buy designer apparel and accessories. Undeniably, the platform carries social relevance, especially amid ongoing revenge travel and the broader return to the office. However, since the January opener, RENT slipped over 17%.

Not only that, RENT gave up nearly 31% of equity value in the trailing one-year period. Also, since its public market debut, it plunged almost 86%. Despite the obvious red flag, RENT shockingly rates as a consensus strong buy. This assessment breaks down as six buys, one hold and zero sells. Overall, the analysts anticipate shares hitting $4.75, implying over 94% upside potential.

At least two experts within the past 90 days see shares hitting $6, implying over 145% growth. However, RENT’s one of the trickiest Wall Street favorite stocks. With an Altman Z-Score slipping to 3.49 below zero, Rent the Runway sits in the distressed territory. Still, the experts seem to love it. It’s really up to you.

PANW Palo Alto Networks $220.10
PSTG Pure Storage $35.37
KR Kroger $46.17
CLNE Clean Energy Fuels $4.37
NOG Northern Oil & Gas $33.00
VERA Vera Therapeutics $7.77
RENT Rent the Runway 2.18

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.

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