Five Stocks to Watch in 2015

This year promises to be an interesting one for the U.S. stock market, given the record territory the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are starting 2015. The Nasdaq index is still shy of its closing high of 5,048.62 made on March 10th, 2000, ending the year at 4,736.05, up +11.81 percent in 2014. 2015's Five Stocks to Watch include two stocks which had Initial Public Offerings last year, Alibaba and GoPro, a biotech company, Gilead Sciences, an Internet stock, Yahoo! and an oil company, Marathon Oil in light of the steep decline in oil prices.

Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd (BABA) – After pricing its initial public offering at $68 per share in September – the world's largest initial stock offering, raising more than $25 billion – Hangzhou, China based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd stock closed 2014 at $103.94 per share, making an all time closing high of $119.15 on November 10th.

The Chinese company offers consumer to consumer, business to business and business to consumer sales services through Internet web portals. Alibaba stock has had an impressive run since its initial offering and is definitely a stock to watch in the New Year.

GoPro Inc. (GPRO) – Offering shares for the first time in June, San Mateo, California based GoPro Inc. had its initial public offering at $24 per share. The stock has since soared, closing 2014 at $65.57 per share. GoPro's wearable equipment and accessories were the best selling cameras on (AMZN) during the holiday season. The company's stock closed at an all-time high of $93.85 per share on October 7th and has since sold off, but is still up over +63 percent from its initial offering price. Investors are considering whether the new camera company's stock can maintain these levels through 2015.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) – After Express Scripts (ESRX) decided to exclude Gilead's new hepatitis C drug, Harvoni from its formulary in favor of rival AbbVie's new Viekira Pak, Gilead execs were considering whether to include results from Harvoni and their hep C franchise from their guidance for the first quarter. Nevertheless, some analysts see Gilead better positioned than AbbVie and expect sales of hep C treatments to reach as much as $16 billion over the next two years. Gilead stock is up over 30 percent in 2014, and with expected revenue from Harvoni, the stock could continue to appreciate in 2015.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) – After closing the year at $50.51 per share, just two dollars below its all-time high of $52.62 per share made on November 17th, Yahoo! stock could continue gaining in light of recent news. According to media reports, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is considering the purchase of a major media property such as Time Warner's (TWX) CNN, or Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI). Yahoo! has made a significant profit on their Alibaba investment, which it made years ago and the purchase of a major news outlet could be in the cards for the company in 2015.

Marathon Oil (MRO) – After spinning off its refining operations as Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Marathon Oil will be spending about 60 percent of its $5.9 billion budget on the Eagle Ford shale production facility in 2015. Despite the drastic decline in oil prices, the company has increased production at Eagle Ford from 8K barrels per day in 2012's fourth quarter to over 100,000 barrels per day in the last quarter of 2013. Marathon Oil stock has declined from $41.69 on August 29th to its current price of $28.04 per share after the price of crude oil dropped below $60 per barrel last month. Marathon Oil stock could recover or continue declining, depending on direction of crude oil prices in the near and medium terms.

Published on Jan 2, 2015
By Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk enjoyed a 12-year professional financial markets career incorporating extensive first hand futures and options experience obtained by trading in the stock, commodity and forex markets on U.S. exchanges. Since retiring as a full-time financial market professional, he has been actively trading stock, commodities, forex and options for his own account and managing funds for others, as well as writing financial market commentary and educational articles.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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