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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights Merck & Co, Shopify, Intercontinental Exchange, Barrick Gold Corp and NXP Semiconductors

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 22, 2022 – 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: Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK - Free Report) , Shopify Inc. (SHOP - Free Report) , Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE - Free Report) , Barrick Gold Corp. (GOLD - Free Report) and NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NXPI - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Merck, Shopify and Intercontinental Exchange

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 & Co., Inc., Shopify Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

You can see all of today’s research reports here >>>

Shares of Merck have underperformed the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry over the past year (+2.8% vs. +16.9%), although the company beat Q4 estimates for earnings and sales. The Zacks analyst believes that drugs like Keytruda, Lynparza and Bridion have been driving sales.

Keytruda sales are gaining from continued lung cancer diagnoses, and increasing usage in other cancer indications. Animal health and vaccine products remain core growth drivers. Its new oral antiviral pill for COVID-19, molnupiravir, will be a key top-line driver in 2022. 

Merck boasts a strong cancer pipeline, including Keytruda, which should help drive long-term growth. However, generic competition for several drugs and rising competitive pressure, mainly on the diabetes franchise, will continue to be overhangs on the top line. 

(You can read the full research report on Merck here >>>)

Shares of Shopify have underperformed the Zacks Internet - Services industry over the past two-year period (+21.5% vs. +42.0%), though the company is benefiting from e-commerce boom-induced growth in the merchant base. Robust uptick in Shopify Shipping, Shopify Pay and Shopify Capital is driving the top line as reflected by fourth quarter results. The company has been focused on winning merchants on a regular basis, based on product offerings including Shop Pay and Shop Pay Installments, as well as features like end-to-end order tracking. 

The Zacks analyst believes that solid adoption of new merchant-friendly applications holds promise, while partnerships with Facebook, Instagram and Google are expected to expand its merchant base. However, higher investments on product development as well as fulfillment platforms are likely to limit margin expansion in the near term. Raging inflation and cautious consumer spending is expected to hurt top-line growth in the near term. 

(You can read the full research report on Shopify here >>>

Shares of Intercontinental Exchange have outperformed the Zacks Securities and Exchanges industry over the past six month period (+5.9% vs. +0.2%). The Zacks analyst believes that Intercontinental Exchange’s top line benefits from its compelling product and service portfolio, broad range of risk management services, strength in global data services. Continued strength in its energy franchise, improving recurring market data revenues are likely to keep growth on track. 

Strategic buyouts help it achieve cost synergies that are in sync with its aim of generating long-term value for shareholders. It is well-poised for growth on the back of accelerated digitization taking place in the US residential mortgage industry. A solid balance sheet helps in effective capital deployment. Shares have outperformed the industry in the past six months. However, its expenses are likely to remain high in the near term. 

(You can read the full research report on Intercontinental Exchange here >>>)

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Barrick Gold Corp. and NXP Semiconductors N.V.

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