Wall Street’s 7 Favorite Stock Picks for 2024

Stocks to buy

As we enter 2024, it’s wise to pause and reevaluate your investment portfolio, shaking things up for the year ahead. With each new year comes shifting sentiment on Wall Street. However, many top-performing stocks from 2023 could continue gaining momentum this year. Tracking which companies analysts are most bullish on provides useful insight for investors with medium-term investing time horizons.

Big tech stocks often land on analysts’ buy lists, some after already appreciating significantly. While these familiar names may not make you an overnight millionaire, they should anchor your portfolio. I’ll spotlight seven stocks that Wall Street analysts have tagged as hot buys for 2024 based on positive ratings. Note, a reminder: analyst ratings aren’t foolproof market prophecies. However, they do offer a valuable peek into current Wall Street perspectives.

With that in mind, let’s dive in!

Amazon (AMZN)

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As the top dog in the e-commerce sector by a wide margin, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) remains analysts’ darling pick in this space for 2024. With a stellar 42 “buy” ratings against zero “hold” or “sell” ratings over the last three months, Wall Street is extremely bullish on AMZN stock. I know some may balk at Amazon’s seemingly steep valuation. But with online shopping becoming more ingrained for the consumer (especially among digital-native Gen Zers), I’m willing to pay a premium for this proven winner.

Statista forecasts nearly 11% annualized global e-commerce growth through 2027, and Amazon should capture much of those dollars. The company’s earnings per share are estimated to grow from $2.69 in 2023 to more than $11.30 by 2032. To me, that long-term profit trajectory justifies Amazon’s current market value, and then some. Paired with low double-digit sales growth expected through 2029, I see ample upside ahead.

Between Gen Z’s digital preferences and the overall momentum of e-commerce, Amazon’s pole position in this space should equate to big returns over time. This tech titan remains as hungry as ever – a terrific stock to own in 2024 and beyond.

Meta Platforms (META)

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Flashback to mid-2022 when Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) crashed to $90 per share. Despite the prevalent bearishness at the time, I stayed bullish on this company based on Meta’s rock-solid core business. Fast forward 18 months, and META stock is now trading around $346 per share.

Wall Street sees blue skies ahead as well. In fact, Meta nets 36 “buy” recommendations against just one “hold.” From 2023 to 2028, the company’s earnings per share could double on the back of still-robust double-digit annual revenue growth. Indeed, lingering anxiety over Meta’s metaverse dreams has proven temporary. The company’s “Family of Apps” division, not virtual reality, is Meta’s cash cow, and that business is doing just fine.

Meta’s coffers will continue to grow so long as eyeballs remain glued to Facebook and Instagram. Consider Generation Z: though often portrayed as generally being “over” Facebook, most in these age groups still have an account. Additionally, Instagram remains wildly popular with teens. As long as users show up, advertisers will, too. With ample room for untapped global growth, Meta has plenty of upside left.

Microsoft (MSFT)

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) retains its spot as a darling among Wall Street analysts, and for good reason. This tech titan scarcely flinched during the recent overall market slide and has rebounded forcefully to fresh highs. While Microsoft’s impressive AI initiatives capture tremendous fanfare, we can’t ignore its breadth across cloud, software, and hardware.

Look no further than Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing segment, for instance. Azure’s revenue popped 29% last quarter. Thus, Microsoft is now encroaching on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) turf via fledgling search and browser initiatives.

Notably, MSFT stock also has 36 “buy” ratings against just one “hold,” with Wall Street remaining keen on Microsoft, as I am. This company has its hands in so many cookie jars (AI is just one example) that I expect substantial growth ahead. Buckle up for the ride!

Uber Technologies (UBER)

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As one of software’s biggest recent success stories, Uber (NYSE:UBER) has surged to new all-time highs in recent weeks. Propelled by robust momentum and an impeccable balance sheet, Uber certainly looks like a juggernaut in the making. It’s no shock that Uber earns 35 resounding “buy” ratings among analysts against just one lone “hold” rating.

No doubt, Uber’s growth trajectory impresses mightily. The company’s earnings per share could leap from $1.15 in 2024 all the way to $6.61 in 2032, if growth remains on track. However, with 2024 earnings putting Uber’s forward price-to-earnings ratio above 53-times, I concur with that solitary “hold” rating. Despite turbocharged profit growth expected ahead, today’s rich valuation gives me reason to pause. Uber’s forward multiple will sink to around 9-times if everything goes perfectly based on 2032 income projections. But paying upfront for these earnings means investors are forced to assume some pretty significant risk.

Unlike entrenched tech titans, Uber operates within the concentrated rideshare niche and is still working toward mainstream adoption. I believe waiting for a better entry point seems to be the smart play before biting on a stock trading at over 9-times potential 2032 earnings today. Long-term bulls may toss aside my caution and buy regardless, and that I think is not a bad idea if you want to hold for decades.

CrowdStrike (CRWD)

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Looking back to March 2023 when I first touted CrowdStrike (NASDAQ:CRWD), its blistering growth metrics were undoubtedly mouthwatering. But with its valuation now stretching beyond 85-times forward earnings and 20-times forward sales, I’m balking – even with CrowdStrike garnering 34 “buy” recommendations against just 2 “hold” ratings from Wall Street analysts.

Without question, cybersecurity industry tailwinds should continue to propel CrowdStrike to new heights over this coming decade. However, paying today’s extremely steep premium seems awfully hard to justify when even the most optimistic 2033 revenue projections still put CRWD stock at almost 3-times next year’s sales. Only the most eager bulls could try rationalizing buying at such current nosebleed levels.

Nvidia (NVDA)

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Like CrowdStrike, Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) appears to bake highly optimistic growth assumptions into its currently lofty valuation. Sure, Nvidia has knocked recent quarterly earnings reports out of the park. But looking ahead, risks definitely loom large, both from AI chipmaking rivals rapidly narrowing the technology gap along with uncertainty permeating the still-emerging and largely unprofitable AI landscape overall.

I believe Wall Street largely overestimates Nvidia’s future prospects, while seriously discounting the competitive and industry headwinds that could plausibly dampen growth. Nvidia earns an overwhelmingly positive 31 “buy” ratings against three mere “hold” ratings. Analysts clearly envisage blue skies dominating ahead. I respectfully disagree with that upbeat prognosis, and suggest prospective investors wait for a better entry point before jumping aboard.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW)

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Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) falls into the same frothy camp. This company has posted stellar market-beating performance in previous quarters, and holds a leadership position in the cybersecurity space. However, PANW stock appears to be priced to sheer perfection. Especially compared to high-flying cybersecurity peer CrowdStrike, Palo Alto’s top-line growth metrics look rather pedestrian moving forward. Yet, PANW stock still trades at remarkably rich earnings multiples, even when looking at 2033 projections.

With 30 “buy” ratings against just 4 “hold” ratings, Wall Street analysts overwhelmingly endorse Palo Alto Networks. However, I believe waiting for an inevitable pullback should deliver much better risk-reward upside for investors not currently holding this stock. I’d personally replace these cybersecurity picks with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A, NYSE:BRK-B) if it weren’t for my basing these picks purely using Wall Street ratings.

On the date of publication, Omor Ibne Ehsan did not hold (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.

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