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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Aviat Networks, Michaels Companies, Micron Tech, Schnitzer Steel Industries and Federated Hermes

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – December 9, 2020 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Aviat Networks, Inc. (AVNW - Free Report) , The Michaels Companies, Inc. (MIK - Free Report) , Micron Technology, Inc. (MU - Free Report) , Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. (SCHN - Free Report) and Federated Hermes, Inc. (FHI - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Markets Set to Finish 2020 on a Strong Note: 5 Momentum Picks

Benchmarks had a blockbuster rally in November as investors lauded the progress in coronavirus vaccine development and outcomes of US presidential elections. The Dow posted its best one-month performance since January 1987, marking an 11.8% rise for last month. While the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have advanced 10.8% and 11.8%, respectively, posting their strongest monthly gains since April this year.

So far this year, stay-at-home orders and work-from-home trends have pushed the tech-laden Nasdaq book 49 record highs, adding 38.9%. The Dow and the S&P 500 have inched up 14.3% and 5.4% each in this period.

Though the powerful upsurge in November may seem to deflate hopes of a big year-end rally, some trends may drive stocks to round of the year on a positive note.

Year-End and Santa Rally

December is generally an up month for the market. Stocks tend to deliver better-than-average returns and a bulk of it may appreciate in the last few days of the month. This is partly driven by the holiday effect and often called the Santa Rally. In fact, per a CNBC article, according to a CFRA Research report, “since 1945, the S&P 500 rose nearly 1.5% in all Decembers and advanced in price 73% of the time.”

Keeping the prevalent pandemic scenario in mind, the upswing this year seems uncertain but not impossible. Positive or negative news related to coronavirus will impact the market trend but the same will surely make up for the losses incurred. Going by a Bank of America report, despite the downside triggered by the pandemic, the market has limped back from its near 35% drawdown in late March and delivered a year-to-date gain of nearly 15%.

Spike in New Cases Dampens Vaccine Hopes

A record rise in the coronavirus cases has been constantly dashing hopes of a faster economic revival. However, progress on the vaccine front aided the market rally in the second half of this year and the trend will likely continue. Per a recent update, the FDA may authorize a coronavirus vaccine as early as the end of the first half of December.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on Dec 10 to review Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for an emergency use authorization (EUA). The EUA would mean a partial consent as some adults will receive the vaccine with the authoritative body continuing to evaluate data and possibly taking a couple of months before lending its complete approval. Earlier in May, the regulatory agency had granted an emergency clearance to Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir before giving the full and final nod in October.

5 Stocks to Buy Now

Given the current scenario and scope for growth in December, we shortlisted five stocks that flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), possess a Momentum Score of A and have witnessed growth in the past four weeks. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Aviat Networks designs, manufactures and sells a range of wireless networking products, solutions and services. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 95.4% against the Zacks Wireless Equipment industry’s projected earnings decline of 6.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 18% upward over the past 60 days.

The Michaels Companies owns and operates arts and crafts specialty retail stores for hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorators. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the next quarter is more than 100% against the Zacks Retail - Miscellaneous industry’s projected earnings decline of 46.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 1.2% upward over the past 60 days.

Micron Technology designs, manufactures, and sells memory and storage products. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter is 45.8% against the Zacks Semiconductor Memory industry’s projected earnings decline of 9.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 28.3% upward over the past 60 days.

Schnitzer Steel Industries recycles ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals, and manufactures finished steel products. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100% against the Zacks Steel - Producers industry’s projected earnings decline of 10.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 16.3% upward over the past 60 days.

Federated Hermes offers investment management and engagement services. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 13% against the Zacks Financial - Investment Management industry’s projected earnings decline of 4.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 8.6% upward over the past 60 days.

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