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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Moderna and Gilead Sciences

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 27, 2020 – 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: Moderna (MRNA - Free Report) and Gilead Sciences GILD.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

How to Play the W-Shaped Recovery

The S&P 500 has rallied over 17% since its low on Monday, which marked its lowest level since 2016. The markets are now on a high following the $2 trillion fiscal stimulus plan that may save the American economy from collapse. I originally wrote that a fiscal stimulus plan would signal the beginning of a V-shaped recovery from this pandemic driven market crash, but I am not so sure anymore.

Timelines Are Crucial

Timelines are the most important ambiguities in the US markets right now. The timeline to seeing a decrease in daily new cases, the timeline for a treatment/vaccine, the timeline for the stimulus plan to take effect, and the timeline for life to go back to normal, are all going to be the most influential market drivers in the weeks to come. As these timelines extend, the deeper into a recession the US economy will go, and the larger the market’s downside potential.

From my perception, the timelines are increasing every day our new case count goes up, and there is a good chance that it will take more than a few months for life to go back to normal. Some think that the novel coronavirus will change society forever. Some believe that it will disappear in the summer like its “viral-cousin” SARS, and others estimate that a vaccine is the only thing that will bring our lives back to normal.

My opinion is that although warmer weather may slow down the pandemic, the vaccine is our best chance at life resuming normality. Vaccines are not anticipated to be available to the broader public for more than a year.

The testing and regulations for this type of universal vaccine take time, and even if we do get a vaccine to this current strain of the virus, it will likely mutate (which it already has), much like the seasonal flu. This sounds terrifying amid this pandemic hysteria, but health professionals have anticipated this.

Moderna is beginning to test its vaccine as we speak and says it will take at least two months to realize the first results. Gilead Sciences is working on one of the more promising coronavirus treatments called remdesivir. The company had received exclusive orphan drug rights from the FDA earlier this week, which would have given them proprietary rights to the drug for 7 years. Gilead rescinded this designation after some considerable backlash.

W-Shaped Recovery

I am now predicting a W-shaped recovery. The violent bounce we are experiencing this week is not unusual in times of considerable uncertainty like this, and it happened at a level. The support level that triggered Monday’s bottom was the S&P 500 falling 35% from its February highs, hovering around 2,200.

This level, combined with the impending fiscal stimulus was enough to start the big short squeeze that we had all been waiting for. This fear-driven market crash had bears rushing to get short, and these positions made hundreds billions over the past month, according to Thompson Reuters. Short sellers were covering their positions this week, starting at the support level I just mentioned.

The S&P 500 is now less than 25% off its all-time highs, and with dismal unemployment figures expected to be released next week, I think we have room to fall. 3.3 million people applied for unemployment this past week, which not only made history but was 5 times the previous record. Despite unemployment being on the higher end of estimates, the market continues its rally on hopes that this will all be very temporary.

What I Am Doing

The markets are on a high from the fiscal stimulus bill, but this will not last forever. As I have been saying in my prior articles, continue to average-down on red days. Today I am holding cash and setting limit orders for my favorite tech stocks. Remember not to go all-in on a red day as there will be more to come. Incremental buying and averaging-down will be your most successful strategy.

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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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