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3 “Strong Buy” Stocks With Long-Term Growth Potential

3 "Strong Buy" Stocks With Long-Term Growth Potential

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After a prolonged bull rally, volatility once again rules the markets. The S&P 500 finished the week in the green, but Friday June 19’s session saw dramatic swings due to technical factors as well as alarming headlines related to a COVID-19 resurgence and a slowdown in the economic recovery.  

Against this backdrop, what investors want, what will really bring back the animal spirits of the marketplace, is long-term stability. They aren’t looking to day trade; they are looking to park their money and watch it grow. Fiscal stimulus policies have pushed interest rates down to near zero. Treasury bonds are yielding less than 1%. This leaves the stock market. Fortunately, Wall Street pros believe compelling plays are still out there. 

Today, we’ve pulled up three stocks from the TipRanks database that have sparked the interest of Wall Street’s analysts. These are stocks that have impressed the analysts, who have responded by noting their solid upside potential and clear investment value for the long haul, with each ticker earning a “Strong Buy” consensus rating. For all three, an analyst has noted the long-term potential in the headline. Let’s find out why they’re so compelling. 

Sportsman’s Warehouse (SPWH

Based in Utah, Sportsman’s Warehouse operates 95 retail locations in 25 states. The chain specializes in outdoor gear and clothing, for a clientele heavily involved in camping, fishing, hunting, and shooting. 

The first thing to note, when assessing SPWH as an investment, is the recent stock performance. SPWH shares have climbed an astounding 145% over the last three months. The stock does not pay a dividend, but the recent share appreciation delivers a fine return. 

The next thing to note is that the company beat the forecast in its most recent quarterly report. This win came despite it being an outdoor apparel and equipment chain during the lockdowns of recent months. Some points to note: SPWH operates in rural regions, where the coronavirus pandemic was less severe, and the calendar Q2 is, for seasonal reasons, the company’s slowest. In this most recent quarter, SPWH posted a 1-cent profit instead of the 6-cent loss expected. 

5-star analyst Ryan Sigdahl, of Craig-Hallum, calls SPWH in his headline, “One Of The Best Positioned Retailers In The Near And Long Term.” Going into detail, he elaborates: “We believe SPWH is one of the best positioned specialty retailers in the current environment (COVID and social unrest) as it has spurred demand for necessities and personal protection, but it is also one of the best positioned over the medium term with several key competitors de-emphasizing/exiting the ‘hunting’ category (market share opportunity) and increased participation in outdoor recreation. Shelter-in-place restrictions have driven increased interest in camping, hiking and fishing, and we don’t think these trends will change anytime soon.” 

Sigdahl’s Buy rating on the shares is supported by his new $16 price target, which was raised from $12. This indicates confidence in a robust 28% upside potential for the coming year. (To watch Sigdahl’s track record, click here

With 4 Buy ratings, the Strong Buy analyst consensus view on SPWH is unanimous. The stock has risen sharply in recent weeks, but the analysts have set their sights higher, and see room for continued growth. Shares are selling for $12.48 apiece, and the average price target of $14.88 implies a one-year upside potential of 19%. (See Sportsman’s Warehouse stock analysis on TipRanks

Ciena (CIEN

Next up is a telecom company, the world leader in optical connectivity. Ciena is a major name in networking equipment and software services. The company boasts an $8.2 billion market cap, over 2,000 patents, and 1,500 customers, as well as a presence in 35 countries. Ciena’s products include software for analytics and intelligence, control and automations, and programmable infrastructure. 

This is another company that has strongly outperformed the markets in recent months. CIEN shares are up 49% over the last three months, gaining on the company’s usefulness as millions of workers switched to remote work and telecommuting. Like many companies, Ciena did see a dip in Q1 earnings, but that was mitigated by two related points: calendar Q1 is the lowest earning quarter in the company’s cycle, and earnings bounced back strongly in Q2. That most recent quarter showed non-GAAP profits of 76 cents per share, which was well above the estimates. 

Covering the stock for J.P. Morgan, 4-star analyst Samik Chatterjee calls it an “attractive long-term investment,” and rates CIEN a Buy. His $63 price target, raised from $53, implies an upside potential of 17% for the coming 12 months. (To watch Chatterjee’s track record, click here)  

Fleshing out his opinion, Chatterjee writes, “We recommend CIEN shares as our top pick within Networking Equipment coverage given favorable positioning with: 1) secular growth for the underlying optical industry levered to growing bandwidth needs; 2) benefit from accelerating bandwidth needs in a post-COVID-19 normal; 3) continued share wins from well-established technology leadership…” 

CIEN shares have 16 recent analyst reviews, including 12 Buys and 4 Holds, giving the stock a Strong Buy consensus rating. Rapid share appreciation recently has pushed the trading price close to the price target – but the stock still shows a healthy 14% upside potential. Shares are trading for $53.62, and the average price target is $61.27. (See Ciena stock analysis on TipRanks

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC

Last on our list, Science Applications, is a Washington DC consulting firm and government contractor. Like all of the ‘Beltway Bandits,’ SAIC is heavily dependent on the Federal government for revenues; fortunately for the company, that’s a well that typically does not run dry. SAIC provides engineering, scientific, and technology expertise to governmental service agencies.  

While shares are down since the start of 2020, SAIC has gained 54% over the last three months. 

Aside from share appreciation, SAIC also offers investors a reliable dividend payment. The company recently declared its next payment, at 37 cents per share, to go out in July. SAIC has been keeping the dividend reliable, and slowly growing the payment, for the past seven years. The current payment provides a yield of 1.8%. While this doesn’t sound like much, it beats the tech sector peer average by a full half-percentage point. 

SAIC has been able to weather the coronavirus storm, at least in part by winning several new US government contracts in recent months. The company won a $655 million contract with the Air Force, and a $325 million contract with the Department of Homeland Security, in February. Both contracts are IDIQ – indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity. In May, the company signed a $650 million national security contract, and earlier this month, it signed a contract for torpedo testing with the US Navy. 

The run of new contracts gives SAIC a stable foundation going forward, which has not escaped the notice of the analysts. Josh Sullivan, 5-star analyst with Benchmark, says that the “Record IDIQ Contracts Supports Long-term,” and in his comments writes, “2021 FCF outlook improved to $500 million from $450 million… the record IDIQ wins in the quarter supports the long-term momentum…” 

Sullivan puts a Buy rating on SAIC, with a $105 price target to suggest room for 31% upside potential. (To watch Sullivan’s track record, click here

8 Buy ratings and just a single Hold give SAIC shares a Strong Buy from the analyst consensus. The average price target is an even $100, and indicates an upside potential of 24% for the coming year. (See Science Applications International stock analysis on TipRanks)

The post 3 "Strong Buy" Stocks With Long-Term Growth Potential appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

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Why letting Medicare negotiate drug prices won’t be the game-changer for health care Democrats hope it will be

A new law will let Medicare bargain for the first time. But a health policy scholar explains why it’s unlikely to make much of a difference in how much…

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Drug prices have been soaring in recent years. stevecoleimages/E+ via Getty Inages

Democrats hope their new health care, tax and climate law begins to rein in soaring prescription drug prices.

One of its most touted provisions allows Medicare, America’s health insurance program for seniors, to negotiate some prescription drug prices for the first time, with some calling it “game-changing” and a significant victory over the pharmaceutical industry. Drug manufacturers had stubbornly opposed any governmental regulation of drug prices for decades and are likely to challenge the measure in court.

As a scholar who has published extensively on the politics of health policy, I’m skeptical that giving Medicare the ability to negotiate prices on a handful of drugs will be as transformative as the law’s backers hope. While a good step, it is unlikely to make a significant difference in how much seniors pay overall for medicine.

Fortunately, there are several other provisions in the law that will do much more to meaningfully help seniors struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs.

Why US drug prices are so high

Pharmaceutical innovation over the past few decades has been tremendous. The quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of vaccine development and treatments perfectly exemplifies the incredible benefits that drug developers have brought to the world.

Yet these developments have come at a high price, particularly in the United States, where each person spends more than US$1,100 a year on drugs – up from $831 in 2013. Indeed, Americans are paying substantially more than residents of similar countries like Germany, the U.K. and Australia – who pay $825, $285 and $434 per person each year, respectively.

People who need specific high-priced drugs are even more adversely affected.

Dulera, an asthma drug, costs 50 times more in the U.S. than the international average. Januvia, for diabetes, and Combigan, a glaucoma drug, cost about 10 times more. Americans shell out, on average, $98.70 for a vial of insulin, compared with the $6.94 Australians pay.

These costs impose a big burden on Americans1 in 5 of whom skip medications because of the cost. Seniors are particularly affected by these problems.

The reasons for high prices are varied, including the overall complexity of the U.S. health care system and the lack of transparency in the drug supply chain. But as I noted in a 2019 article in The Conversation, the biggest reason Americans pay so much more than people do elsewhere is simple: Pharmaceutical companies face no limits setting prices.

Changing the game – a little

The new law, known as the Inflation Reduction Act and signed into law on Aug. 16, 2022, seeks to change that.

The main mechanism to do it is by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for some of the most expensive drugs. The act gives Medicare the ability to negotiate with drugmakers for 10 drugs starting in 2026 and 20 by 2029.

The law specifies that the medications Medicare is supposed to select must account for most of its spending on drugs and be name brands with no generic equivalents. Research has found that a relatively small number of drugs are responsible for most spending.

Importantly, pharmaceutical companies may face civil penalties and additional taxes on drug sales if they do not comply with the requirements to establish a “maximum fair price” as laid out in the law.

The provision is expected to save the U.S. government about $102 billion over 10 years by allowing it to pay less on prescription drugs for Americans on Medicare – currently 63 million people. The annual savings amount to about 5% of what Medicare currently spends on drugs.

There’s also a separate provision that requires pharmaceutical companies, under certain conditions, to provide Medicare with rebates if drug prices outpace inflation. That measure takes effect this year and is expected to yield $71 billion in savings over a decade.

While the government savings are meaningful, I believe seniors themselves are likely to see only a minor drop in costs as a result of this provision, mainly through slightly reduced premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs.

A Black female pharmacist shows Black senior woman some prescription meds.
Measures in the law Biden just signed should lower prices for many seniors. Marko Geber/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Where the real savings are

The provisions that will make a much bigger difference for seniors lie elsewhere.

Importantly, the new law limits seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs to no more than $2,000 annually. Previously, there were some restrictions but no limit. This will directly help 1.4 million seniors who exceeded the $2,000 threshold in 2020.

The law also limits how fast premiums for Medicare Part D, which provides premium-based prescription drug insurance, can rise over the next few years and implements a number of other adjustments.

It also extends the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy to 400,000 seniors who previously earned too much to qualify. This program helps people pay for premiums, deductible and copays and has been valued at $5,100 a year.

The legislation also limits the cost of insulin to no more than $35 per month for Medicare recipients only. This amounts to more than $1 billion in annual savings for seniors. Almost 16 million American seniors have diabetes and are likely to need insulin at some point in their lives.

Lastly, it also eliminates out-of-pocket costs for seniors for vaccines – a move that would have saved money for 4.1 million people in 2020.

Broader impact

There are real benefits in the bill President Biden signed into law. The government will save by negotiating prices. Seniors will save through the insulin cap and other provisions.

But I don’t believe Medicare’s ability to negotiate prices will be a game-changing reform.

Besides affecting prices paid by only a slice of Americans, we do not know how aggressively the federal government will seek savings. This particularly applies to any future administration headed up by a Republican president.

The pharmaceutical industry may still manage to limit the impact of price negotiations, since it will be four years before the changes take effect. The industry has a history of skillfully exploiting loopholes and a vast lobbying apparatus to put into that effort.

As for Americans who aren’t covered under Medicare, drug prices may actually go up. That’s because, if pharmaceutical companies do end up reducing drug prices for seniors, they may shift those costs to everyone else to make up for those lost profits.

Simon F. Haeder does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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War, peace and security: The pandemic’s impact on women and girls in Nepal and Sri Lanka

The impacts of COVID-19 must be incorporated into women, peace and security planning in order to improve the lives of women and girls in postwar countries…

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Nepalese girls rest for observation after receiving the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 in Kathmandu, Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Attention to the pandemic’s impacts on women has largely focused on the Global North, ignoring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka, which continue to deal with prolonged effects of war. While the Nepalese Civil War concluded in 2006 and the Sri Lankan Civil War concluded in 2009, internal conflicts continue.

As scholars of gender and war, our work focuses on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. And our recently published paper examines COVID-19’s impacts on women and girls in Nepal and Sri Lanka, looking at policy responses and their repercussions on the women, peace and security agenda.

COVID-19 has disproportionately and negatively impacted women in part because most are the primary family caregivers and the pandemic has increased women’s caring duties.

This pattern is even more pronounced in war-affected countries where the compounding factors of war and the pandemic leave women generally more vulnerable. These nations exist at the margins of the international system and suffer from what the World Bank terms “fragility, conflict and violence.”

Women, labour and gender-based violence

Gendered labour precarity is not new to Nepal or Sri Lanka and the pandemic has only eroded women’s already poor economic prospects.

Prior to COVID-19, Tharshani (pseudonym), a Sri Lankan mother of three and head of her household, was able to make ends meet. But when the pandemic hit, lockdowns prevented Tharshani from selling the chickens she raises for market. She was forced to take loans from her neighbours and her family had to skip meals.

Some 1.7 million women in Sri Lanka work in the informal sector, where no state employment protections exist and not working means no wages. COVID-19 is exacerbating women’s struggles with poverty and forcing them to take on debilitating debts.

Although Sri Lankan men also face increased labour precarity, due to gender discrimination and sexism in the job market, women are forced into the informal sector — the jobs hardest hit by the pandemic.

Two women sit in chairs, wearing face masks
Sri Lankan women chat after getting inoculated against the coronavirus in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in August 2021. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

The pandemic has also led to women and girls facing increased gender-based violence.

In Nepal, between March 2020 and June 2021, there was an increase in cases of gender-based violence. Over 1,750 incidents were reported in the media, of which rape and sexual assault represented 82 per cent. Pandemic lockdowns also led to new vulnerabilities for women who sought out quarantine shelters — in Lamkichuha, Nepal, a woman was allegedly gang-raped at a quarantine facility.

Gender-based violence is more prevalent among women and girls of low caste in Nepal and the pandemic has made it worse. The Samata Foundation reported 90 cases of gender-based violence faced by women and girls of low caste within the first six months of the pandemic.

What’s next?

While COVID-19 recovery efforts are generally focused on preparing for future pandemics and economic recovery, the women, peace and security agenda can also address the needs of some of those most marginalized when it comes to COVID-19 recovery.

The women, peace and security agenda promotes women’s participation in peace and security matters with a focus on helping women facing violent conflict. By incorporating women’s perspectives, issues and concerns in the context of COVID-19 recovery, policies and activities can help address issues that disproportionately impact most women in war-affected countries.

These issues are: precarious gendered labor market, a surge in care work, the rising feminization of poverty and increased gender-based violence.

A girl in a face mask stares out a window
The women, peace and security agenda can help address the needs of some of those most marginalized. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Policies could include efforts to create living-wage jobs for women that come with state benefits, emergency funding for women heads of household (so they can avoid taking out predatory loans) and increasing the number of resources (like shelters and legal services) for women experiencing domestic gender-based violence.

The impacts of COVID-19 must be incorporated into women, peace and security planning in order to achieve the agenda’s aims of improving the lives of women and girls in postwar countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Luna KC is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Research Network-Women Peace Security, McGill University. This project is funded by the Government of Canada Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program.

Crystal Whetstone does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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CDC Announces Overhaul After Botching Pandemic

CDC Announces Overhaul After Botching Pandemic

After more than two years of missteps and backpedaling over Covid-19 guidance that had a profound…

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CDC Announces Overhaul After Botching Pandemic

After more than two years of missteps and backpedaling over Covid-19 guidance that had a profound effect on Americans' lives, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced on Wednesday that the agency would undergo a complete overhaul - and will revamp everything from its operations to its culture after failing to meet expectations during the pandemic, Bloomberg reports.

Director Rochelle Walensky began telling CDC’s staff Wednesday that the changes are aimed at replacing the agency’s insular, academic culture with one that’s quicker to respond to emergencies. That will mean more rapidly turning research into health recommendations, working better with other parts of government and improving how the CDC communicates with the public. -Bloomberg

"For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for Covid-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations," said Director Rochelle Walensky. "I want us all to do better and it starts with CDC leading the way.  My goal is a new, public health action-oriented culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication and timeliness."

As Bloomberg further notes, The agency has been faulted for an inadequate testing and surveillance program, for not collecting important data on how the virus was spreading and how vaccines were performing, for being too under the influence of the White House during the Trump administration and for repeated challenges communicating to a politically divided and sometimes skeptical public."

A few examples:

Walensky made the announcement in a Wednesday morning video message to CDC staff, where she said that the US has 'significant work to do' in order to improve the country's public health defenses.

"Prior to this pandemic, our infrastructure within the agency and around the country was too frail to tackle what we confronted with Covid-19," she said. "To be frank, we are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes — from testing, to data, to communications."

The CDC overhaul comes on the heels of the agency admitting that "unvaccinated people now have the same guidance as vaccinated people" - and that those exposed to COVID-19 are no longer required to quarantine.

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/17/2022 - 12:22

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