Today's Must Read
Key Drugs Drive Merck's (MRK) Sales Amid Generic Woes
Shell (RDS.A) Aided by LNG Demand Amid Production Woes
Friday, January 8, 2021
The Zacks Research Daily presents the best research output of our analyst team. Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Coca-Cola (KO), Merck (MRK) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Coca-Cola shares have underperformed the Zacks Soft Drinks Beverages industry over the past year (-9.7% vs. -1.1%) reflecting the impact of lost sales due to restaurant closures. The Zacks analyst believes that Coca-Cola has been witnessing a surge in e-commerce with the growth rate of the channel doubling in many countries on the back of a shift in consumer behavior due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the earnings and sales declined on a year over year basis, the company’s third-quarter 2020 revenues and volume reflected improved trends from the second quarter. It is poised to gain from the streamlining of portfolio and accelerating investments to expand digital presence due to shift in consumer preference.
However, continued pressures in the away-from-home channel, which account for nearly half of its revenues, hurt revenue growth. It also lost global value share in NARTD beverages on negative channel mix.
Shares of Merck have gained +9.5% in the last six months against the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry’s gain of +5.6%. The Zacks analyst believes that drugs like Keytruda, Lynparza and Bridion have been driving sales.
Keytruda sales are gaining from continued uptake in lung cancer and increasing usage in other cancer indications. Animal health and vaccine products remain core growth drivers. The potential separation into two companies makes strategic sense as the remaining Merck should be able to achieve higher profits than the combined company.
However, generic competition for several drugs and rising competitive pressure, mainly on the diabetes franchise will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Sales of some key products like Gardasil 9 vaccine are being hurt due to COVID-19 related business disruption.
Royal Dutch Shell shares have gained +51.3% over the past three months against the Zacks International Integrated Oil industry’s rise of +33.8%. The Zacks analyst believes that Europe's largest oil company hasn’t been immune to the coronavirus-induced energy downturn and is also facing some headwinds on the production front.
There are also worries over the company’s poor reserve replacement ratio of just 76%. Hence, the stock warrants a cautious stance. Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell’s trading business was instrumental in helping the supermajor partly cushion the impact of oil price slump.
In particular, the Anglo-Dutch multinational company’s position as a key supplier of liquefied natural gas should benefit its long-term cash flow growth on the back of attractive growth opportunities. It is also making solid progress toward the transition to a renewable energy-focused future.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include TOTAL (TOT), Gilead Sciences (GILD) and FedEx (FDX).
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Director of Research
Note: Sheraz Mian heads the Zacks Equity Research department and is a well-regarded expert of aggregate earnings. He is frequently quoted in the print and electronic media and publishes the weekly Earnings Trends and Earnings Preview reports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>>