When it comes to investing on Wall Street, patience pays off big-time. For instance, even though the widely followed S&P 500 shed more than a third of its value last year in a span of less than five weeks, people who trusted in their long-term investment theses have been handsomely rewarded. In fact, we’ve never witnessed such a ferocious bounce-back from a bear-market bottom in history.
But according to Wall Street analysts, big gains still await a trio of companies. Based on Wall Street’s consensus price targets, the following three stocks are expected to at least double, if not triple, in value within the next 12 months.
Marathon Digital Holdings: Implied upside of 105%
First up is one of the hottest stocks over the trailing year, Marathon Digital Holdings (NASDAQ:MARA). The cryptocurrency mining company catapulted higher by almost 2,500% during the 12-month period through June 8, 2021. If analysts are correct, and Marathon pushes forward to its consensus price target of $48.50, it’ll more than double in value.
Cryptocurrency miners are companies that use high-powered computers to solve complex mathematical equations that validate groups of transactions known as a block. For validating blocks, crypto miners are paid a block reward. Marathon specifically focuses on mining Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC), the world’s most valuable digital currency by market value. Thus, its block reward is 6.25 Bitcoin, worth about $213,000.
As of the beginning of June, Marathon Digital had 17,655 miners in its fleet and anticipates that it’ll be operating at full capacity (103,120 miners) by the end of March 2022. The 226.6 Bitcoin it mined in May was more than quadruple what it mined in January — and it’s nowhere near full capacity yet.
Unlike other Bitcoin mining companies, Marathon also used its cash to purchase Bitcoin. Between its $150 million investment in January, which netted a little over 4,800 Bitcoin, and its mining activity, Marathon now holds 5,518 Bitcoin.
While this might seem like a slam-dunk operating model, crypto mining may very well be the worst way to play the Bitcoin craze. It’s entirely dependent on external factors, with innovation playing little or no role. Furthermore, there’s no barrier to entry for competitors, and the block reward paid to Bitcoin miners halves every four years.
Were this not enough, it’s important to note that Bitcoin has undergone numerous long-winded bear markets over the past decade. It’s not clear if Marathon’s operating model can be successful if Bitcoin continues to falter.
Columbia Care: Implied upside of 108%
It should come as no surprise that there’s a lot of buzz on Wall Street concerning cannabis. The U.S. is the epicenter of growth for the marijuana industry, with New Frontier Data forecasting more than $41 billion in annual weed sales by mid-decade. Perhaps that’s why analysts are projecting U.S. multistate operator (MSO) Columbia Care (OTC:CCHWF) will catapult higher by 108% within the next 12 months.
The good news for Columbia Care, and all MSOs for that matter, is that federal legalization isn’t necessary for the industry to thrive. Even if the Biden administration is unsuccessful in changing federal law, 36 states have already legalized cannabis in some capacity. As long as states are allowed to chart their own path and regulate their own industry, marijuana stocks should be able to show investors the green.
Columbia Care has long been known for its medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation infrastructure. But with so many key markets now legalizing adult-use weed, the company has been pivoting its focus to also include the recreational market. Inclusive of all of its pending acquisitions, Columbia Care has 92 dispensaries and a combined 30 cultivation or manufacturing facilities.
What’s interesting about Columbia Care is its love for inorganic growth. Don’t get me wrong, in the first quarter Columbia Care’s same-store sales increased by 60% from the prior-year period. But the most exciting opportunities have derived from the acquisitions CEO Nicholas Vita has sought out. In particular, Columbia Care gobbled up The Green Solution, Colorado’s leading integrated cannabis company, and it’s in the midst of buying Green Leaf Medical, which will expand its presence in the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio.
Columbia Care has planted its proverbial flag in more than a dozen markets and appears to be on the cusp of hitting recurring profitability. Wall Street’s aggressive price target may prove achievable if the company does, indeed, generate a profit.
Sorrento Therapeutics: Implied upside of 216%
If you want upside potential, Wall Street would strongly suggest you get clinical-stage biotech drug and diagnostics company Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE) on your radar. With a price target of $27.50, the consensus is that Sorrento’s shares will more than triple over the coming year.
Why the bullishness? Much of it has to do with Sorrento’s exhaustive work on coronavirus disease 2019 testing and treatments. The company has 11 COVID-19 programs in various clinical or regulatory stages, with testing being the No. 1 priority. Sorrento filed for emergency-use authorization (EUA) for its COVI-TRACK antibody test in June 2020, as well as its COVI-STIX rapid COVID-19 test in December. The expectation is that Sorrento will get its EUAs on both, but it’s still waiting. These tests could represent a $1 billion annual sales opportunity for Sorrento for the foreseeable future, if approved.
The company has an extensive pipeline beyond its diagnostics, too. This includes four clinical-stage COVID-19 treatments, six clinical-stage cancer immunotherapies, two clinical-stage pain trials, and two clinical trials focused on a new way to deliver injectable medicines directly into lymphatic and systemic capillaries (the Sofusa Lymphatic Delivery System). Although the success rate for early- and mid-stage cancer trials is poor, Sorrento will be able to take numerous home run swings if it can get its COVID-19 diagnostic tests approved.
Perhaps the biggest concern for Sorrento is capital. Though it ended March with nearly $42 million in cash and $194 million in marketable securities, running so many clinical and preclinical programs led to more than $99 million in operating expenses, of which more than $87 million came from research and development and selling, general, and administrative expenses. A couple more quarters like this without a green light on its diagnostic products from regulators could prove troublesome.
The best way to approach Sorrento Therapeutics would be with cautious optimism.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
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