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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amedisys, Select Medical Holdings, LHC, Eurofins Scientific and DaVita

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – December 19, 2019 – 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: Amedisys, Inc. AMED, Select Medical Holdings Corp. (SEM - Free Report) , LHC Group, Inc. LHCG, Eurofins Scientific SE ERFSF and DaVita, Inc. DVA.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Healthcare Stocks to Keep the Winning Streak Alive in 2020

The year 2019 is nearing an end and the healthcare sector has so far performed quite well, consistent with its winning momentum of the past many years. Rising demand for services and products in this sector aided growth for the year to date and the trend will likely continue with the increasing aging U.S population and the persistent prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases.

The sector also gained traction from the use of AI-based applications along with medical mechatronics and big-data applications. Ramped-up M&A activity, an accelerated pace of innovation, promising drug launches, growing importance of biosimilars, cost-cutting efforts, expanding insurance coverage, burgeoning middle class, insatiable demand for new drugs and ever-escalating health care spending have been some of the key catalysts in 2019 and will keep fueling the sector.

Players in the sector have benefited in scale, size and business diversification from mergers and acquisitions, which help drive revenues. The sector, which has always been high on mergers and acquisitions, saw a number of deal wins in 2019 as well, which further consolidated the space.

Some notable mergers completed this year were the mega-merger deal between Bristol-Myers and Celgene, acquisition of Loxo Oncology by Eli Lilly and Company, Roche’s buyout of Spark Therapeutics for $4.8 billion and Merck’s integration of Immune Design.

Other announcements include NextGen Healthcare’s (NXGN) takeover of Medfusion, a patient experience platform leader. Notably, the latest declaration was Merck’s acquisition of ArQule, strengthening its supremacy in Oncology.

The decline in corporate tax rate further provided more funds in the hands of already cash-rich companies in the healthcare sector, which have been utilized for further business expansion, innovations and share buybacks.

Despite regulatory hurdles, spiralling medical costs plus growing expenditure of research and development, most companies have been able to maintain their profitability by cost-control measures and raising prices.

Moreover, the defensive nature of the Healthcare sector as compared to others enabled it to withstand an extensively volatile year. Given its cautious nature (as demand for products and services are to a large extent immune to the state of the economy, enabling players to earn revenues even in difficult times), the sector attracts investors, banking on the safety of investments it provides.

In a year’s time, the Health Care Select Sector SPDR fund (XLV), consisting of a portfolio of large-cap healthcare stocks on the S&P 500 Index, has rallied 23.2% compared with the S&P 500 Index's surge of 32%.

Top Picks

The prospects of healthcare will remain largely bright in 2020, courtesy of the spurt in America’s grey populace. That is why it makes sense for investors to add healthcare stocks to their portfolios next year. However, picking winning stocks may be difficult.

This is where our VGM Score comes handy. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of all three. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select wealthier options. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM Score.

We have narrowed down our search to the following stocks, each of which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), a favorable VGM Score.  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Amedisys, Inc.has a Zacks Rank of 1 and a VGM Score of A. The stock has witnessed a 5.56% upward revision in its 2020 earnings estimates over the past 60 days. The stock has gained 38.2% versus its industry’s decline of 17.6%. While the Zacks S&P500 composite has increased 26.1%.

Select Medical Holdings Zacks #1 Ranked and has a VGM Score of A. The stock has witnessed a 6.67% upward revision in its 2020 earnings estimates over the past 60 days. The stock has soared 47.6% compared with its industry’s and the Zacks S&P 500 composite’s growth of 16.6% and 26.1%, respectively.

LHC Group, Inc.has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of B. The stock has witnessed a 2.76% upward revision in next-year earnings estimates over the past 60 days. The stock has jumped 38.9% against its industry’s decrease of 6.1%. While the Zacks S&P500 composite has risen 26.1%.

Eurofins Scientific SEis a #1 Ranked stock and has a VGM Score of B. The stock has witnessed a 15.3% upward revision in 2020 earnings estimates over the past 60 days. The stock has gained 46.6% against its industry’s fall of 6.1%. While the Zacks S&P500 composite has grown 26.1%.

DaVita, Inc.has a Zacks Rank #1 and an impressive VGM Score of A. The stock has seen a 10.6% upward revision in 2020 earnings estimates over the past 60 days. The stock has gained 39.1% versus its industry’s decline of 17.6%. While the Zacks S&P500 composite has been up 26.1%.

Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2020

In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top tickers for the entirety of 2020?

These 10 are painstakingly hand-picked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. They are our primary picks to buy and hold. Start Your Access to the New Zacks Top 10 Stocks >>

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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