Sarah Roden

About the Author Sarah Roden

Sarah writes about stock market news for TipRanks. She graduated as member of Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia.

6 Biggest Stock Stories of 2014


2014 was an exciting year around the world, but what were the most significant headlines on Wall Street? Here is our list of the top 6 stock events from 2014:

 

1: Alibaba (NYSE: BABA)

Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) shattered records in September when its $25 billion initial public offering hit the New York Stock Exchange, marking the largest IPO ever. BABA shares began selling for the IPO price of $68 each but surged to about $90 in its first day of trading while approximately 271 million shares were traded. The e-commerce site continued to break records as sales catapulted CEO Jack Ma to become the richest man in China. Additionally, China’s equivalent of Black Friday, known as Singles’ Day on November 11th, produced $9.3 billion worth of transactions on the website.

On November 5th, analyst Eddie Leung of Merrill Lynch reiterated a Buy rating for BABA with a price target of $122. Leung highlighted Alibaba’s “‘good’ user retention rates and rising annual spending of loyal users.” The analyst has a 79% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of +40.8% per recommendation.

The top analyst consensus for BABA on TipRanks is Strong Buy.

 

2: GoPro (NASDAQ: GRPO)

GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) went public on June 25th as the boyish executives took Wall Street with a rush of adrenaline. 17.8 million Class A common stocks of the high-definition personal cameras popular among extreme sport enthusiasts were offered at $24 each. The IPO was valued at $2.96 billion and was offered through July 1st. GoPro shares have tripled in price since the IPO.

On December 1st, analyst Andrew Uerkwitz of Oppenheimer maintained an underperform rating on GoPro with a price target of $45. Uerkwitz, responding to GoPro’s announcement of producing consumer drones, remained skeptical of GoPro’s ability to break into the competitive market. He added, “While drones make the most sense to us for GPRO’s product portfolio, we believe they will not present significant upside to its top line, given the limited market size and GPRO’s lack of expertise in the market.” Uerkwitz has a 64% overall success rate recommending stocks with a +6.5% average return per recommendation.

The top analyst consensus for GPRO on TipRanks is Hold.

 

3: The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS)

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) took cinemas by storm in late November 2013 with the release of Frozen. Although the film was released in 2013, profits and excitement from the film transcended well into FY2014. Frozen surpassed the $1 billion mark, earning over $1.27 billion worldwide. The film shattered box office records, earning the title of the highest grossing animated film and highest grossing 2013 film.  The excitement surrounding Frozen didn’t stop when the film left theatres as merchandise from the film is dominating this holiday shopping season, even outselling Barbie.

On November 7th, BMO analyst Daniel Salmon maintained an Outperform rating on the stock with a $100 price target. Salmon relies on Disney’s “premium content franchises and technology leadership.” He saw Frozen has a potential catalyst for “revenue through the holiday period,” and points out the slew of new movies Disney has in the works. Salmon has a 74% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of +11.6%.

The top analyst consensus for DIS on TipRanks is Moderate Buy.

 

4: Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)

Apple (NASADQ: AAPL) has been a crowd favorite for years as the technology company’s pipeline relentlessly continues to generate new products. Apple claimed to make the biggest advancement in iPhone history this year with the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. In September, the tech giant unveiled the new models and touted innovative features such as Apple Pay and improved camera technology. The iPhone 6 series set new records as it sold over 4 million phones in the first 24 hours. In addition, Apple announced plans in May to acquire Beats Music and Beats Electronics for $3 billion. Apple fans are now poised for the release of the Apple Watch; “Apple’s Most Personal Device Ever” set to be released in early 2015.

On December 8th, analyst Keith Bachman of BMO Capital maintained an Outperform rating on AAPL and raised his price target from $113 to $123. The analyst noted that iPhone sales had more potential because “more of the 6 Plus are currently available than were available a month ago,” and that “Apple is hoarding available supply, which should help Apple’s gross margins in the December quarter.” Bachman has a 71% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of +25.8% per recommendation.

The top analyst consensus for AAPL on TipRanks is Moderate Buy.
5: BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY)

2014 marks the beginning of a long and uphill battle for Blackberry’s (NASDAQ: BBRY) turnaround. John Chen was appointed CEO of the suffering company in November of 2013 after share prices plummeted in early 2011. BlackBerry continued to report losses this year, though notably smaller than last year. BlackBerry is expecting positive cash flow by 2015. Chen worked diligently this year to trim expenses and focus on profitable sectors of the company. Shareholders are applauding Chen’s work and becoming increasingly optimistic about the future of Blackberry. It may not seem monumental, but it’s the beginning of a huge potential turnaround in a company that once dominated the wireless communication industry.

On December 16th, analyst Amitabh Passi of UBS reiterated a Neutral rating with a $9.50 price target right before BlackBerry was set to unveil their new phone; the BlackBerry Classic. Passi acknowledged the “new level of optimism and energy” Chen brought to the company but believes that “long-term outlook for the company is still unclear and the range of outcomes still wide.” Passi has a 59% overall success rate recommending stocks with an average return of +8.2% per recommendation.

The top analyst consensus for BBRY on TipRanks is Moderate Sell.

 

6: Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)


Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) saw massive growth in 2014 and announced the construction of their gigafactory to produce lithium ion batteries. The gigafactory was finalized in late July when Tesla and Panasonic signed an agreement to build it together in Nevada. The factory is intended to reduce costs of Tesla’a batteries so they can mass produce electric cars. The $5 billion endeavor is expected to be functioning by 2017. Tesla is poised to grow exponentially as the company projects 50% growth for 2015. Executives are confident that the demand for electric cars exists and as long as they can meet production needs.

On December 17th, analyst Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley maintained a Buy rating on Tesla with a price target of $290. The rating comes after Tesla shares slipped due to falling oil prices. Jonas commented that he expects Tesla to sell under half the amount of cars by 2020 than he anticipated. Jonas writes that if “Tesla is able to cut down on battery costs, it may spend the savings to make the Model 3 better, rather than lowering the price tag,” in which case Tesla must turn to “to a smaller, more affluent addressable market.” Out of 72 recommendations over the past year, Jonas has earned a +18.2% average return per recommendation.

The top analyst consensus for TSLA on TipRanks is Moderate Buy.

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