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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Sprouts Farmers Market, The Hain Celestial, Virtu Financial and Pixelworks

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 29, 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: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX - Free Report) , Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. (SFM - Free Report) , The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (HAIN - Free Report) , Virtu Financial Inc. (VIRT - Free Report) and Pixelworks Inc. (PXLW - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Top-Ranked Nasdaq Stocks to Buy Ahead of Earnings Results

The first-quarter 2020 earnings season has commenced on a discouraging note. The disappointment reflects a significant dent in corporate profits on account of the coronavirus outbreak that spread like wildfire across the United States and all over the world in the second half of the first quarter.

Despite the coronavirus-induced economic disaster and stock market turmoil, a handful of Nasdaq stocks are set to beat earnings estimates.

First Quarter at a Glance

Several disappointing numbers including job data, industrial production, retail sales, manufacturing activities, home building and consumer confidence, revealed how badly the U.S. economy was hurt in the first quarter due to lockdowns, both domestic and international.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite index started on an impressive note in 2020 carrying forward a fabulous 2019, marking the best performance in six years. In the first half of the first quarter, the index had a smooth run recording new highs almost every day finally reaching all-time high on Feb 19.

However, after that, the index witnessed a steady decline as global economic activities almost came to a standstill owing to partial or full lockdowns. Coronavirus-induced economic disaster threw Nasdaq Composite into a bear-market territory on Mar 12. The index continued to decline till Mar 23 and then started to move north.

Disappointing First-Quarter Earnings Results So Far

As of Apr 24, 122 S&P 500 members reported first-quarter 2020 earnings results. Total earnings of these companies are down 16.2% from the same period last year on 2.5% higher revenues. Of the total, 64.8% surpassed EPS estimates and 63.1% outpaced revenue estimates. Overall, first-quarter  earnings for the S&P 500 Index were projected to be down 15.3% year over year on 1.2% higher revenues. This is in sharp contrast to 4% earnings growth expected in early January. (Read More: Previewing Tech Sector Earnings)

Our Top Picks

We have narrowed down our search to five Nasdaq stocks. Each of these stocks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and has a positive Earnings ESP. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Our research shows that for stocks with the combination of a Zacks Rank #3 or better and a positive Earnings ESP, the chance of an earnings beat is as high as 70%. These stocks are expected to soar after earnings release. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. is focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecule drugs targeting serious diseases. Its main area of focus is cystic fibrosis (CF). The company has an Earnings ESP of +0.43%.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals has an expected earnings growth rate of 43.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 1.3% over the last 60 days. It has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 21.8%, on average. The company is set to release earnings results on Apr 29, after the closing bell.

Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. provides fresh, natural, and organic food products in the United States. It offers fresh produce, bulk foods, vitamins and supplements, packaged groceries, meat and seafood, baked goods, dairy products, frozen foods, beer and wine, natural body care and household items. The company has an Earnings ESP of +17.01%.

Sprouts Farmers Market has an expected earnings growth rate of 8.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 8.8% over the last 60 days. It has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 28.7%, on average. The company is set to release earnings results on May 5, after the closing bell.

The Hain Celestial Group Inc. manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells organic and natural products. It operates in seven segments: the United States, United Kingdom, Tilda, Ella's Kitchen UK, Canada, Europe and Hain Ventures. The company has an Earnings ESP of +9.24% for the third quarter of fiscal 2020 (ending June 2020).

The Hain Celestial Group has an expected earnings growth rate of 10.6% for the current year (ending June 2020). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 4.3% over the last 60 days. It has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 7%, on average. The company is set to release earnings results on May 7, before the opening bell.

Virtu Financial Inc. is a market-leading financial services firm that leverages cutting-edge technology to provide execution services and data, analytics and connectivity products to its clients and deliver liquidity to the global markets. The company has an Earnings ESP of +39.67%.

Virtu Financial has an expected earnings growth rate of 147.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 64.1% over the last 60 days. The company is set to release earnings results on May 7, before the opening bell.

Pixelworks Inc. designs, develops and markets semiconductors and software that enable the visual display of broadband content through a wide variety of electronic devices. The company has an Earnings ESP of +5.26%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 16.7% over the last 60 days. It has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 36.9%, on average. The company is set to release earnings results on May 7, after the closing bell.

The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All

Last year, it generated $24 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $77.6 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.

See Zacks' 3 Best Stocks to Play This Trend >>

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