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Lumber Liquidators, Planet Fitness, Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 27, 2021 – Zacks Equity Research Shares of Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc. (LL - Free Report) as the Bull of the Day, Planet Fitness, Inc. (PLNT - Free Report) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Moderna, Inc. (MRNA - Free Report) , Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Free Report) and BioNTech SE (BNTX - Free Report) .

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that lumber is an industry you want to be in right now. After all, lumber prices have more than quadrupled in the last year or so. Owning lumber mills are the place to be right now, but how long can that last? None of the mills are rushing to put more production online because they've all learned from the last boom-bust cycle. This won't last forever, and it takes a good chunk of up-front investment to get new lumber mills churning out wood.

Check out your local home improvement store and you're going to gasp at the price of a sheet of plywood. Retailers selling wood products like flooring are enjoying higher pricing which they are passing on to the consumer. Their margins are strong and their bottom lines are even better.

It should then come as no surprise to hear that today's Bull of the Day is Lumber Liquidators. Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a multi-channel specialty retailer of hard-surface flooring, and hard-surface flooring enhancements and accessories. The company offers hardwood species; engineered hardwood, laminate, resilient vinyl, water-resistant vinyl plank, and porcelain tile flooring products; renewable flooring, and bamboo and cork products; and a selection of flooring enhancements and accessories, including moldings, noise-reducing underlayments, adhesives, and flooring tools under the Bellawood and Coreluxe brand. It also provides in-home delivery and installation services. 

While lumber is in the name, it's not the only reason this stock is rocking and rolling. A red-hot housing market is certainly helping. People are not only spending money on snazzing up their homes to sell, but they are remodeling after they move. It's introducing an incredible amount of demand into this industry. Lumber Liquidators is currently a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with the distinction of having a Zacks Value Style Score of A, Growth of B and Momentum of B to help it round out with a VGM Composite Score of A. The Building Products – Retail Industry ranks in the Top 16% of our Zacks Industry Rank, making this a hot stock in a hot industry.

The reason for the Zacks Rank is the recent earnings estimate revisions coming from analysts. Over the last 30 days, three analysts have increased their estimates for the current year while one has done so for next year. The bullish revisions have shot up our Zacks Consensus Estimates from $1.15 to $1.36 for the current year while next year's number has gone up from $1.22 to $1.41.

Bear of the Day:

The post-COVID world is different. There's no question of that. Entire swaths of the economy were shut down. Just now, the world is beginning to open back up. That does not mean you should blindly buy the dip on stocks that were beat down during the shutdown. It is very tempting to just load the boat on all things retail, hotel, and travel related. Unfortunately, like most things stock market related, it's not that simple. However, by taking a look at earnings estimates, revisions from analysts, and the Zacks Rank, you can save yourself some headache.

Today's Bear of the Day is a company which bottomed out with COVID and is not starting to tick up. But the earnings estimates have not followed suit. I'm talking about Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, franchises and operates fitness centers under the Planet Fitness brand. It operates through three segments: Franchise, Corporate-Owned Stores, and Equipment. The Franchise segment is involved in franchising business in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, Mexico, and Australia.

The Corporate-Owned Stores segment operates corporate-owned stores in the United States and Canada. The Equipment segment engages in the sale of fitness equipment to franchisee-owned stores in the United States. As of December 31, 2020, the company had 2,124 stores, including 2,021 franchised and 103 corporate-owned stores.

Even though this stock is officially a "Bear of the Day," that does not mean I'm bearish over the long-term on this stock. In fact, there are some monster growth numbers here. Year-over-year revenue growth is forecast to come in at 31.24% this year and 39.13% next year. Then why name it a Bear of the Day? I am here to point out something deep in the numbers that long-term investors should be made aware of.

Taking a look at earnings estimates for the current year and next year, there has been a significant hit to consensus estimates. Over the last 30 days, 8 analysts have cut their estimates for the current year and next year. The bearish moves have dropped our Zacks Consensus Estimates from $1.10 for the current year to 97 cents. Next year's number is off from $1.88 to $1.77. Perhaps the recovery isn't going as good as some optimistic investors believe.

The Leisure and Recreation Services industry ranks in the Bottom 36% of our Zacks Industry Rank. There are still several stocks in the good graces of our Zacks Rank within the industry.

Additional content:

Moderna's (MRNA - Free Report) Covid-19 Vaccine 100% Effective in Teens

Moderna announced that its COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273 met the primary endpoint of immunogenicity in the phase II/III study — TeenCOVE — evaluating it in adolescents (aged 12 to less than 18 years). The primary endpoint was non-inferior immunogenicity compared to the COVE study that evaluated the vaccine in adults. Data from the TeenCOVE study showed an efficacy of 100%, with no cases of COVID-19 after 14 days following administration of the second dose.

Positive data from the TeenCOVE study demonstrates successful bridging of immune responses to the adult vaccination. Moderna plans to submit data from the study to regulators globally in early June and request authorization for the vaccine. The study has evaluated mRNA-1273 in 3,732 adolescent participants.

Additionally, data from the TeenCOVE study also demonstrated a vaccine efficacy of 93% in seronegative adolescent COVID-19 patients who received one dose of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, the company's key competitors in the COVID-19 vaccine field, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have already received Emergency Use Authorization for the use of their COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, in adolescents earlier this month. BNT162b2 also demonstrated 100% vaccine efficacy in the adolescent patient population. Pfizer is also looking to get Conditional Marketing Authorization in Europe for this patient population.

Pfizer's lead in getting adolescent labels for the vaccine is likely to hurt potential sales of Moderna's vaccine.

Please note that Moderna and Pfizer are both developing their COVID-19 vaccine in additional population groups, such as children from 6 months to less than 12 years of age. The companies are also evaluating the administration of a single booster dose mainly with the aim of protecting against the emerging variants of concern.

Moderna's stock has gained 62% in the year so far against the industry's decline of 4.9%.

Apart from a booster dose of mRNA-1273, Moderna is also developing a South African strain-specific booster candidate, mRNA-1273.351, and a multivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211, for protection against the original and South African variant coronavirus. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will also conduct a parallel study to evaluate these booster candidates.

Meanwhile, Moderna has also initiated a phase I study to evaluate three doses — 10 µg, 30 µg, and 100 µg — of its refrigerator stable mRNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19, mRNA-1283. While the study will evaluate two-dose regimens for the lower two doses, it will evaluate a single dose of 100 µg in healthy adults.

Although Pfizer currently seems to lead the vaccine race, successful developments of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine pipeline will boost prospects of the company, going forward, as the demand for vaccines is likely to continue for a few years. Per a CNBC article, several experts believe that SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will become endemic. This means that the virus will be prevalent in different geographical regions, if not the whole world.

Meanwhile, Moderna has signed several agreements with different companies including Sanofi and Samsung Biologics to provide large-scale, commercial fill-finish manufacturing for mRNA-1273.

Zacks Rank

Moderna currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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