History Says the Nasdaq Will Keep Soaring in 2024. Here’s the Surprising Megacap Stock Wall Street Thinks Will Be the Biggest Winner.

History Says the Nasdaq Will Keep Soaring in 2024. Here’s the Surprising Megacap Stock Wall Street Thinks Will Be the Biggest Winner.

Sizzling hot. Those two words accurately describe the performances of the Nasdaq Composite and the Nasdaq-100 last year. The latter index, which comprises the 100 biggest non-financial Nasdaq stocks, delivered its best return since 1999 in 2023.

What’s in store for this year? History suggests that the Nasdaq will keep soaring in 2024. Here’s the surprising megacap stock that Wall Street thinks will be the biggest winner.

A not-so-magnificent outlook for the “Magnificent Seven”

Believe it or not, none of the “Magnificent Seven” stocks that ruled the market in 2023 are high on Wall Street’s list for 2024. Nvidia‘s shares skyrocketed 239% last year. Analysts’ consensus 12-month price target for the GPU giant is now below its current share price.

It’s a similar story for most of the others. Wall Street’s consensus price targets for Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Meta Platforms reflect analysts’ views that those stocks will move lower.

Analysts do think that Tesla could eke out a tiny gain over the next 12 months. However, price targets are lower now than they were before the electric vehicle maker provided a disappointing fourth-quarter update last week.

Amazon ranks as the “Magnificent Seven” stock that Wall Street is most optimistic about. The consensus 12-month price target for the e-commerce and cloud services powerhouse reflects an upside potential of only 5%, though.

Wall Street’s surprising megacap favorite

So which megacap stock does Wall Street think could be the biggest winner this year? It’s AstraZeneca (NASDAQ: AZN).

With a market cap of around $208 billion, the big drugmaker barely qualifies as a megacap. And unlike the “Magnificent Seven,” AstraZeneca hasn’t performed well recently. Its shares have risen by just a few percentage points over the last 12 months.

However, the consensus price target for AstraZeneca is nearly 22% above the current share price. In terms of expected upside over the next year, no other megacap stock in the Nasdaq comes close. Even the most pessimistic analyst surveyed by LSEG thinks that AstraZeneca’s share price could increase somewhat.

Why does Wall Street like AstraZeneca so much? The company could deliver industry-leading growth throughout the rest of the decade. Its pipeline features 127 late-stage programs — a volume unmatched by other big pharmaceutical companies. AstraZeneca hopes to launch 15 new products by 2030.

In the meantime, AstraZeneca’s current lineup includes several growth drivers. Sales of cancer drugs Imfinzi, Calquence, and Enhertu jumped by 26% or more year over year in 2023’s third quarter. Revenues from its second-best-selling treatment, Farxiga, soared 40%. AstraZeneca also has numerous relatively new rising stars.

Analysts probably approve of AstraZeneca’s business development activity as well. For example, the company acquired CinCor last year, and it’s in the process of acquiring Gracell.

Is this pharma stock a smart pick to buy now?

I’m not sure if AstraZeneca will indeed deliver a gain of 20% or more over the next 12 months as many on Wall Street expect. However, I agree with analysts that the pharma stock is a smart pick to buy right now.

The company does face the loss of exclusivity for ovarian cancer drug Lynparza in 2027. AstraZeneca’s other products and promising pipeline candidates, though, should easily offset any revenue losses for Lynparza.

AstraZeneca’s valuation doesn’t fully reflect its strong growth prospects. The stock currently trades at less than 15.9 times forward earnings. More importantly, in my view, its price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio is a super-low 0.51. With this attractive valuation and its potential for exceptional growth, AstraZeneca’s performance may be more magnificent than any of the “Magnificent Seven” stocks in 2024 and over the next few years.

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Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Keith Speights has positions in Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta Platforms, and Microsoft. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Tesla. The Motley Fool recommends AstraZeneca Plc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

History Says the Nasdaq Will Keep Soaring in 2024. Here’s the Surprising Megacap Stock Wall Street Thinks Will Be the Biggest Winner. was originally published by The Motley Fool