With 2020 winding down, there’s a growing belief that 2021 is going to be a growth year for the stock markets. The US elections have returned a divided government, one unlikely to have the broad majorities – or the broad support – needed to enact wide-ranging reform legislation from either the right or left, and that bodes well for the economy generally.The COVID vaccines are entering distribution, and while new anti-virus lockdowns are also getting set in place, there’s a feeling that the end of the pandemic may be near. According to the analyst community, a few names reflect serious growth plays. These are stocks that have already notched impressive gains year-to-date, and are poised to see the growth keep on coming even after 2020 wraps up. Bearing this in mind, we used TipRanks’ database to scan the Street for tickers that fall into this category. Locking in on three in particular, the analysts believe that each name, which also happen to boast a “Strong Buy” consensus rating, can keep the rally alive in 2021. SunOpta (STKL)The first stock on this growth list is a health snack company, SunOpta. The company’s line of products includes plant-based beverages, fruit-based snacks, broth and stocks, teas, and sunflower and roasted snacks. The company markets through private label and co-manufacturing distribution, as well as through food service institutions.SunOpta boasts a market cap of $962 million, after a year of stunning share price growth. The stock is up an impressive 328% this year, far outpacing the general markets. The company’s Q3 revenues came in at $314.9 million, a 6.4% year-over-year gain. EPS, at a net loss of 1 cent, was better than the 2-cent loss expected – and far better than the 11-cent loss reported in the year-ago quarter.The company’s solid performance has attracted the attention of Craig-Hallum analyst Alex Fuhrman. The analyst rates STKL a Buy along with a $15 price target. This figure implies a one-year upside of 40% from current levels. (To watch Fuhrman’s track record, click here)Backing his stance, Fuhrman wrote, “We believe the company’s focus on high value plant-based foods and beverages should command a premium valuation with opportunities for upside to estimates as the economy recovers from COVID.”In large part, Fuhrman’s optimism is based on SunOpta’s niche. The analyst noted, “We expect plant-based food stocks to command a premium valuation to other food companies for the foreseeable future given faster growth trends and compelling environmental benefits. At just $4.5B in sales today, plant-based products are less than 1% of the $695B grocery market, but it is easy to envision it representing a double-digit share of grocery sales over time.” Wall Street doesn’t always come together in unanimity, but in this case, it does. SunOpta’s Strong Buy analyst consensus rating is unanimous, based on 3 Buy reviews. The stock is selling for $10.70, and with an average price target of $15, SunOpta has a forward growth potential of 40%. (See STKL stock analysis on TipRanks)Green Brick Partners (GRBK)One bright spot in the economy this past year has been the home construction industry. As people moved out of the cities to avoid COVID, they headed for the suburbs and exurbs – and that boosted the demand for single-family homes. Green Brick is a land development and home acquisition company, based in Texas. The company invests in real estate, primarily land, and then provides plots and construction financing for the development projects.The spread of the suburbs – not just in this COVID year, but as a general trend, has been good to Green Brick. The company’s Q3 revenue was $275.8 million, the best in more than year, beating the forecast by 20% and growing 31% year-over-year. EPS was also strong; the Q3 value, 68 cents, was 54% above expectations, and more than double the year-ago value.Green Brick’s share price has been rising along with the company’s financial outlook. For the year, GRBK has gained 111%.In his coverage of this stock, JMP analyst Aaron Hecht noted, “[We] expect GRBK to capitalize on the trend of apartment renters shifting to single-family homes for safety and changing dynamics brought on by more workers telecommuting. The most important cohort shift within the buyer pool is millennials who have come off the sidelines to buy homes, a trend which we believe has multiple years of runway. The millennial demand trend is magnified in GRBK’s case given its outsized exposure to markets, such as Texas & Atlanta, which are the net beneficiaries of migration out of high-priced coastal geographies.”To this end, Hecht rates GRBK an Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his price target of $30 implies an upside of ~23% for the next 12 months. (To watch Hecht’s track record, click here)While not unanimous, the Strong Buy consensus rating on Green Brick is decisive, with a 3 to 1 breakdown of Buys versus Hold. The average price target of $27.5 gives a 12.5% upside potential from the current share price of $24.45. (See GRBK stock analysis on TipRanks)Brightcove, Inc. (BCOV)Shifting gears to the software industry, we come to Brightcove, a Boston-based software company. Brightcove offers a range of video platform products, including cloud-based hosting and social and interactive add-ons. The company is a leader in the delivery and monetization of cloud-based online video solutions.The strength of such a business model, during these pandemic days with their massive shift of white-collar workers toward remote offices, telecommuting, and video conferencing, is obvious. Brightcove’s earnings hit 11 cents per share in Q3, nearly double the year-ago quarter. At the top line, revenues have been stable, holding between $46 million and $48 million per quarter in 2020, with no discernable COVID impact.Shares in Brightcove have been going up in steps all year, after a minor blip last winter. The pace has accelerated since the end of July, after the Q2 results were released, and the stock is now up 103% for 2020. The general macro headwinds are turning into video niche tailwinds, as noted by Northland Capital analyst Michael Latimore. “We believe a market tailwind, BCOV’s leading tech platform, and strong sales execution are driving strong bookings. We believe the salesforce is at full productivity. BCOV will add more channel managers this year. Management is focused on process improvements to achieve consistency in revenue retention rates,” the 5-star analyst noted.Latimore rates the stock as Outperform (i.e. Buy), and his $24 price target indicates confidence in a 36% upside for the year ahead. (To watch Latimore’s track record, click here)Over the past 3 months, two other analysts have thrown the hat in with a view on the video tech company. The two additional Buy ratings provide Brightcove with a Strong Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $20.17, investors stand to take home 14% gain, should the target be met over the next months. (See BCOV stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for growth stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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