Today's Must Read
Abbott's (ABT) EPD Gains in Russia, Alere Synergy Strong
Solid Order Growth, Favorable Budget to Aid Lockheed (LMT)
Friday, December 28, 2018
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 Merck (MRK), Abbott (ABT) and Lockheed Martin (LMT). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Buy-ranked Merck’s shares have gained +33.9% year to date, significantly outperforming the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry, which has gained +2.8% over the same period. The Zacks analyst emphasizes that Merck’s new products like Keytruda, Lynparza, and Bridion are contributing meaningfully to the top line.
Keytruda sales are gaining momentum with approval for additional indications, especially in the first-line lung cancer setting as it is the only anti-PD-1 approved in this setting. Animal health and vaccine products are also performing strongly and remain core growth drivers for Merck. Meanwhile, Merck will continue to focus on cost-cutting initiatives to drive the bottom line.
However, generic competition for several drugs and pricing pressure will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Rising competitive pressure on the diabetes franchise and on products like Isentress (HIV), Zepatier (HCV) and Zostavax (vaccine) remains.
Shares of Abbott have lost -4.7% over the past three months, outperforming the Zacks Medical Products industry, which has declined -14.2% over the same period. Increasing currency headwinds to some extent dented the company’s strong international performance in the last reported quarter. Meanwhile, emerging market performance has been promising.
The Zacks analyst is optimistic about the strong and consistent performance by the company’s EPD and Medical Devices segments. The company has been hogging the limelight within Diabetic Care on growth with FreeStyle Libre. Within Structural Heart, worldwide strong uptake of MitraClip improves further following the FDA approval of its upgraded version.
This apart, synergies from Alere consolidation in the form of revenues from Rapid Diagnostics have been driving growth. On the flip side, sluggish Vascular arm continues to dent growth.
Buy-ranked Lockheed Martin’s shares have lost -19.1% over the past one year, underperforming the Zacks Aerospace Defense sector, which has declined -9.1% over the same period. The Zacks analyst emphasizes that Lockheed Martin, being the largest defense contractor in the world, enjoys a strong demand for its high-end military equipment in domestic as well as international markets.
Consequently, strong order growth has been a primary growth driver for this company. Lately, the company has been witnessing strong demand for its equipment, ranging from C-130J aircraft in France and Germany to helicopters in Poland to missile defense systems in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Middle East regions.
Its backlog climbed to a record $109 billion, in the third quarter. However, it faces intense competition for its broad portfolio of products and services in both domestic and international markets.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include General Dynamics (GD), United Parcel Service (UPS) and Bank of New York Mellon (BK).
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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>>>