Bull Market and Beyond: 2 Stocks Just Waiting to Soar

Patience often pays off in the equity markets.

Equities have been on a bull run for well over a year. Though it might be tempting to invest in stocks that have largely been in tandem with the broader market, it’s even better to consider those companies that have failed to keep pace, provided they display solid upside potential.

Let’s consider two such stocks: Moderna (MRNA -4.38%) and DexCom (DXCM -0.85%). These two healthcare companies have lagged the broader market over the trailing-12-month period, but they stand a good chance of delivering outsized returns well beyond the current bull run.

1. Moderna

Moderna is one of the captains of a sinking ship. As a leader in the COVID-19 vaccine market, the biotech is seeing its sales decline rapidly as the need for vaccines subsides. In the first quarter, the company’s sales came in at $167 million — much lower than the $1.9 billion reported during the year-ago period. On the bottom line, Moderna went from net earnings of $0.19 per share in the year-ago quarter to a net loss of $3.07 in the latest quarter.

Though these results were better than anticipated, Moderna will have to return to top- and bottom-line growth to deliver market-beating returns. Fortunately, there are good reasons to believe the company has what it takes. Moderna is inching closer to launching a new product: a vaccine for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Further, the company’s late-stage pipeline looks promising. It is testing several candidates, including a vaccine for cytomegalovirus (CMV), a personalized cancer vaccine, and one that targets both the flu and COVID-19. Moderna expects data readouts for its CMV and combined coronavirus/influenza candidates this year. The biotech is also advancing other programs to late-stage studies, including vaccines against the norovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and varicella-zoster virus.

It’s worth noting that even with the massive pullback it experienced over the past two years, Moderna’s shares have soundly crushed the market since its 2018 IPO. Though that is partly because of unusual circumstances surrounding the pandemic, it also served to demonstrate the company’s innovative potential. Now, Moderna has a deep pipeline that should continue delivering solid clinical and regulatory results.

That’s why Moderna could deliver outsized returns well beyond the current bull market, despite its underperforming the market lately.

2. DexCom

DexCom is a healthcare company that specializes in diabetes care. It develops medical devices, particularly continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems, that allow diabetes patients to monitor their blood sugar levels. CGM devices make automatic measurements throughout the day and can alert patients if their blood glucose levels rise or fall outside a specific range, a feature that allows people with diabetes to make better daily health decisions.

The technology has gained significant traction in recent years, helping catapult DexCom’s financial results higher. The company is still going strong. In the first quarter, it generated revenue of $921 million, 24% higher than the first quarter of 2023.

The question for DexCom is whether it can maintain the momentum it has in the CGM market. Thankfully for investors, the answer seems to be yes. Here are two reasons why.

First, although cost can be an issue for many patients — CGM devices aren’t cheap — third-party payer coverage is expanding. For instance, as of April of last year, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services extended Medicare CGM coverage to all patients using insulin, as well as some non-insulin diabetics.

This coverage decision, and others, are contributing to higher prescriptions from physicians. As DexCom CEO Kevin Sayer recently said: “With much broader coverage now available, many physicians have started incorporating Dexcom CGM earlier into their customer care plans.” These developments will only help increase CGM adoption.

Second, there remains a large untapped market, even among covered patients, and even in the U.S., one of the most penetrated CGM countries. With those opportunities ahead, DexCom’s future looks bright. Investors with a long-term focus can safely invest in the stock today.

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