Morgan Stanley thinks Meta Platforms is the “cleanest” generative artificial intelligence play in 2024 as the bank focuses on return on invested capital (ROIC) in its AI stock coverage into next year. Analysts led by Brian Nowak assembled a list of potential AI stock winners for 2024, extending from large caps down to smaller companies that offer similarly bullish outlooks. “AI investments, testing and early capabilities continue to grow across the sector,” Morgan Stanley wrote. “But in ’24, we look for more investor focus on material incremental ROIC (revenue, engagement) from these AI investments.” AI’s influence over Wall Street investors has been a major theme for much of 2023. The AI wave helped Nvidia reach a $1 trillion market capitalization this year, and underpinned massive growth in Google-parent Alphabet and Windows software maker Microsoft . Meta stock has soared 178% since the start of the year. Nowak says the company known for Instagram and Facebook has shifted toward efficiency and a leaner operation, helping Meta emerge as the dominant generative AI play. Morgan Stanley maintains an overweight rating on Meta with a $375 per share price target, representing nearly 14% upside from Monday’s $329.19 close. META YTD mountain Meta Platforms stock. “We think META’s ‘year of efficiency’ is more than just a 365 day change…but rather a structural and cultural pivot to operate leaner and with a greater focus on investor returns…even through investment,” the analyst said. Among smaller stocks, Uber Technologies was also recommended by Morgan Stanley, which has an overweight rating on the ride-sharing provider. A $62 price target implies 19% upside against Monday’s close of $52.24. UBER YTD mountain Uber stock in 2023. “Uber’s scale and liquidity gives drivers higher earnings power and riders lower wait times,” Morgan Stanley wrote. Meanwhile, its “platform approach allows it to rapidly expand into new business lines (Eats, Freight) and leverage shared expenses.” Nowak’s two other AI-oriented picks were Alphabet and Amazon . — CNBC’s Michael Bloom and Scott Schnipper contributed to this report.