7 Sleeper Stocks Primed to Pack a Surprising Punch

While some market concepts may require extensive explanation, the directive behind sleeper stocks to buy is alarmingly simple: investors targeting publicly traded securities that don’t garner as much attention as their peers. By picking up under-appreciated ideas before the spotlight shines on them, you could score yourself a great deal.

Of course, if it were so easy, everyone would do it. So for full disclosure, the main concern about sleeper stocks is that they don’t achieve the recognition they deserve. To better improve the odds in your favor, all of the stocks to buy below feature, at minimum, a consensus moderate buy rating. Also, to align with the definition of “sleeper,” I used TipRanks screener tool called “media buzz,” selecting the lowest rating. With that, below are sleeper stocks to buy that just might wake up.

Wolfspeed (WOLF)

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An American developer and manufacturer of wide-bandgap semiconductors, Wolfspeed (NYSE:WOLF) focuses on silicon carbide and gallium nitride materials and devices for power and radio frequency applications. These include transportation, power supplies, power investors and wireless systems. It’s one of the sleeper stocks because while it’s a relevant semiconductor play, it’s not that kind of semiconductor.

Still, you don’t need to be an Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) to be viable. Interestingly, for the near term, WOLF’s options flow data – which screens for big block trades likely made by institutions – shows heavy interest in bought calls. Specifically, these contracts comprise of $72.50 and $100 calls, both expiring on Jan. 19, 2024.

For full disclosure, WOLF is incredibly risky due to its rather poor financial profile. In particular, its negative margins don’t help boost confidence. That said, insiders have been buying WOLF throughout this year and no one has yet sold. Finally, analysts peg WOLF as a moderate buy with a $58 price target, implying over 31% upside potential.

Crescent Energy (CRGY)

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Based in Houston, Texas, Crescent Energy (NYSE:CRGY) bills itself as a well-capitalized, U.S. independent energy company with a portfolio of low-decline assets in proven regions across the lower 48 states. Filtering out the word salad about doing the right thing, I could find little substantive information. Turning to its security filings, I discovered that it has certain interests in oil and gas properties.

I’m sorry but was it really that hard to say? Anyways, CRGY lost more than 20% of equity value in the trailing year, making it one of the sleeper stocks. However, it’s been flying higher since the end of May, making it an intriguing source of speculation.

To be honest, its financials feature a mish-mash of various attributes, some good, some bad. However, I’m sure investors will appreciate the insider buying. Since November of last year, all insider transactions have been acquisitions. Lastly, analysts peg CRGY as a moderate buy with a $16.75 price target, implying over 34% upside.

Sealed Air (SEE)

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Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sealed Air (NYSE:SEE) is a packaging company known for its Cryovac and Bubble Wrap brands. The former is a food packaging solution and the latter is a cushioned packaging product. By the looks of it, SEE ranks among the sleeper stocks because it’s a company that slips into the background.

Also, if we’re being brutally honest, SEE doesn’t immediately make a case for stocks to buy. Since the start of the year, shares fell almost 33%. Still, it’s interesting to note that Sealed Air still attracts bullish interest. For example, options flow data shows possible institutional investor activity picking up $40 calls last month that expire on Sept. 15. More encouragingly, insiders also believe in their own business.

Since August of last year, insiders have been buying SEE stock and no one has been selling. For further confirmation, analysts peg SEE a moderate buy with a $45.60 price target, implying over 34% upside potential.

Veritex (VBTX)

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Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Veritex (NASDAQ:VBTX) is a community bank. Just from that description, you can probably guess why it’s one of the sleeper stocks. With the regional banking crisis earlier this year – and lingering questions from the fallout – the entire sector suffered a reputational blow. Unfortunately, Veritex enjoyed no exemption.

Since the beginning of this year, VBTX gave up nearly 37% of its equity value. In the trailing five years, it’s gone nowhere, losing just over 40%. Still, if you’re looking for extremely speculative stocks to buy, no one’s paying attention to Veritex. And thus, you can pick up a bank that trades at only a book multiple of 0.65X, below 70.6% of its peers.

Even better, insiders are buying their own stock. Since July of last year, those closest to the business have been steadily accumulating VBTX. Turning to Wall Street, analysts peg shares a moderate buy. Their average price target hits $24.50, implying almost 37% upside potential.

EverQuote (EVER)

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Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, EverQuote (NASDAQ:EVER) is an online insurance lead generation service. For those that only eat salad and not read it, insurance lead generation is the process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for an insurance business through marketing efforts. So, from that definition, you can see why EverQuote represents one of the sleeper stocks.

Also, I’m afraid it’s not an immediately obvious idea for stocks to buy. Since the January opener, EVER dropped more than 56% of equity value. However, the trailing one-year loss looks a bit better, though, at “only” 24%. Aside from some positive in its balance sheet – particularly its equity-to-asset ratio – EverQuote’s financials are unremarkable.

Nevertheless, one factor that could play favorably for EVER is options trader speculation. Based on its implied volatility (IV) curve, it appears traders anticipate activity at rising strike prices based on the sharp bump up in IV.

Moreover, analysts peg EVER a moderate buy with an $8.50 price target, implying over 37% upside potential.

OppFi (OPFI)

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Essentially a financial technology (fintech) firm with a heart of gold, OppFi (NYSE:OPFI) aims to facilitate safe, simple and more affordable credit access to 60 million Americans who presently lack traditional credit options. Per its website, OppFi notes that 64% of U.S. consumers live paycheck to paycheck. And with rising economic pressures, demand for OPFI could soar.

I’ve been talking about OPFI recently and I’m glad I did. Since the start of the year, shares gained nearly 34% of equity value. Just in the past five days, OPFI returned over 4% for stakeholders. Yes, it’s one of the sleeper stocks in the grand scheme of things. However, it might not stay that way for long.

In fairness, OppFi doesn’t offer the most sterling financials. Indeed, some segments (like long-term revenue growth) are poor. However, insiders have been largely buying their own stock this year. Looking to the Street, analysts peg OPFI as a moderate buy with a $4 price target, implying over 48% growth.

Marriott Vacations (VAC)

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An intriguing but also risky idea for sleeper stocks to buy, Marriott Vacations (NYSE:VAC) is a pure-play public timeshare company. Fundamentally, Marriott Vacations may be subject to economic risks. Basically, if circumstances worsen, fewer incentives exist to spend discretionary dollars. At the same time, it’s not as if the company is targeting the most vulnerable segments of society.

Indeed, the phenomenon of revenge travel has been surprisingly robust. And while VAC’s IV curve in the options market is all over the map, traders seem to anticipate the possibility of upside at the far out-the-money (OTM) strike price range. Still, it’s a bold bet given that shares in the open market stumbled more than 23% since the January opener.

However, an enticing element is that it appears the insiders are the ones gambling on VAC. Despite a wave of insider selling, the most recent two insider transactions are buys. Finally, analysts peg VAC as a unanimous strong buy. Their average price target stands at $152.50, implying over 49% upside potential.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.

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