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Facebook, Nordic American Tankers, Relypsa, AstraZeneca and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 11, 2016 – Zacks Equity Research highlights Facebook (FB) as the Bull of the Day and Nordic American Tankers Limited (NAT) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Relypsa, Inc. (RLYP),AstraZeneca plc (AZN) and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMPH).

Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

While the FANG stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google dominated 2015, they have struggled to start 2016. Three of the four are lower or at least around the market’s performance at time of writing, though there is still one outlier in the group, Facebook ( FB).

Facebook remains in a class by itself for investors, as it is the only one of the four with a strong double digit stock performance (roughly) in Q1, and it is now easily leading the group over the past six months as well. But some concerns are now starting to appear over FB and their prospects. A few are worried about user post levels and publisher interest in the Instant Article program, and the stock is selling off as a result.

However, are these really reasons to be worried about FB shares, or does this present a great entry point for Facebook ahead of the next leg up? I think that Facebook still represents a great growth story, and if you look to recent estimates and some of its metrics, I think you’ll agree that FB is a buy at these levels.

Facebook in Focus

Recent estimates for FB earnings have been moving in the right direction and we actually haven’t seen an estimate lower for the past sixty days in either the current quarter or the current year. And the growth rates expected for EPS are impressive too, as this quarter growth is expected to be 92% year-over-year and 61% for the full year.

Bear of the Day :

It hasn’t been smooth sailing by any stretch of the word for companies in the shipping industry lately. An uncertain outlook for global growth and mixed trading in the oil market has led to some wild moves for the space in recent months. It also hasn’t helped that the Baltic Dry Index hit fresh five year lows in February, suggesting that more pain was ahead for the space.

However, recent trading for the dry bulk index has been more favorable and we are now at 2016 highs for this important benchmark. Oil has also moved back off of its lows which has given more hope to companies in the space.

A great example of these trends is with Nordic American Tankers Limited (NAT), as the company has faced the same ebbs and flows as the industry at large. And this company, which operates over two dozen oil tankers, has stormed back to breakeven for 2016, a huge feat considering it was down 20% on the year in early February.

However, this may actually just be a great time to exit this company, as a return to more sluggish trading could be ahead, at least if we look to recent estimates, and a few specific metrics for NAT stock.

NAT metrics

While NAT has seen a few estimate cuts, NAT hasn’t seen any analysts raise their estimates for NAT earnings over the past sixty days. This includes looks at the current quarter, the current year, and the next year time frame too. Growth rates are now projected to be negative for the full year, and even worse for the next year.

Additional content:

What’s the Deal with Relypsa’s (RLYP) Buyout Rumors?

Biopharma company, Relypsa, Inc.’s (RLYP) shares shot up a whopping 67% yesterday on acquisition rumors. According to a Reuters article, Relypsa is exploring the possibility of a potential sale following interest from prospective buyers. While the company is rumored to be working with an investment bank on a potential sale, people familiar with the matter said that discussions are still in an early stage and may not result in a sale.

Veltassa Holds the Key

Relypsa is being viewed as an acquisition target mainly due to its sole approved product, Veltassa. Approved for the treatment of hyperkalemia, Veltassa was launched in the U.S. in Dec 2015. The product’s initial performance has been encouraging and is expected to bring in peak sales of a billion dollars.

Ever since AstraZeneca plc (AZN) shelled out $2.7 billion for one of Relypsa’s competitors, ZS Pharma, which had an experimental hyperkalemia treatment, ZS-9, in its pipeline, investors have been hopeful about Relypsa’s acquisition prospects considering it already has a marketed hyperkalemia treatment in its portfolio. The expectation is that the companies that were unsuccessful in acquiring ZS Pharma could well start a bidding war for Relypsa.

The market for the treatment of hyperkalemia is huge given the addressable patient population of about 3 million in the U.S. Veltassa is the first new drug to be approved in the U.S. to treat hyperkalemia in more than 50 years.

Will a Deal be Announced before ZS-9 PDUFA Date?

While Relypsa has limited competition and huge target market potential on its side, the big question is will a deal materialize before May 26 when the FDA is expected to decide on the fate of AstraZeneca’s ZS-9. Potential suitors could well decide to wait for this regulatory decision before approaching Relypsa. If ZS-9 is approved with a better label, then it could very well have an edge over Veltassa which comes with a black box label that tells patients to avoid taking any other oral medications within 6 hours of taking Veltassa.

Relypsa is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMPH) holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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About the Bull and Bear of the Day

Every day, the analysts at Zacks Equity Research select two stocks that are likely to outperform (Bull) or underperform (Bear) the markets over the next 3-6 months.

About the Analyst Blog

Updated throughout every trading day, the Analyst Blog provides analysis from Zacks Equity Research about the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.

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FACEBOOK INC-A (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report
NORDIC AMERICAN (NAT): Free Stock Analysis Report
RELYPSA INC (RLYP): Free Stock Analysis Report
ASTRAZENECA PLC (AZN): Free Stock Analysis Report
AMPHASTAR PHARM (AMPH): Free Stock Analysis Report
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