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Outerwall, Edwards Lifesciences, Actavis, Merck and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

CHICAGO, Dec. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights Outerwall (Nasdaq:OUTR-Free Report) as the Bull of the Day and Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW-Free Report)as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis ontheActavis plc (NYSE:ACT-Free Report), Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK-Free Report) and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. (NYSE:RDY-Free Report).

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Here is a synopsis of all five stocks:

Bull of the Day:

One of the most notable brand face-lifts of 2013 was when Coinstar changed its name (and stock symbol) to Outerwall (Nasdaq:OUTR-Free Report). At the time, you may have wondered why they didn't just call themselves Redbox, after their premier brand of DVD kiosks. But if you have read anything I've written about the company in the past few years, you know I saw something like this coming.

From my October 2011 article Coinstar Sees Red on Price Boost, here is the rationale I gave...

And speaking of machines that give you things when you put money in them, they've got ideas too, as this mysteriously close-to-the-vest quote implies: "Our New Ventures segment is moving forward with our innovative automated retail concepts."

Right on! They know they are in the consumer engagement business. I'm asking, "What can't you sell out of a kiosk?" People love simplicity, convenience... and pressing cool buttons that give them candy, DVDs, and other fun things.

Bear of the Day:

Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW-Free Report), a global leader in advanced cardiovascular disease treatments, has been struggling all year, hitting a fresh 3-year low in December below $61. As the company repeatedly gives below consensus guidance due to increasing competition, analysts have taken 2014 EPS estimates down over 18% to $3.01 from $3.70 only 90 days ago.

Edwards is the number-one heart valve company in the world. They are focused specifically on technologies that treat structural heart disease and critically ill patients, with products categorized into four main areas: heart valve therapy, critical care, cardiac surgery systems, and vascular disease.

While biotech stole the show in 2013, some medical technology and device makers like Medtronic and Boston Scientific did well too. Edwards stands out as the big disappointment in terms of revenue and earnings growth.

Additional content:

Actavis' Women's Health Biz Update

Pipeline updates are highly awaited events in the pharma/biotech sector as they play an important role in deciding whether or not to invest in a particular company. Consequently, pipeline-related setbacks have the potential to put a stock behind the pack.

Last week, Actavis plc (NYSE:ACT-Free Report) suffered a setback when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a complete response letter (CRL) for the New Drug Application (NDA) of its oral contraceptive candidate. The company is looking to get its progestin-only transdermal contraceptive patch (norethindrone transdermal delivery system) approved for the prevention of pregnancy.

The U.S. regulatory body has asked for more data on Actavis' contraceptive patch. The FDA raised questions primarily on the differences in size and formulation of the transdermal patch used in the studies and the to-be-marketed product.

Actavis now intends to discuss the issues raised in the CRL with the FDA. The NDA was submitted on Feb 26, 2013, and included data from a 12-month, multi-center, open-label study. The CRL comes as a huge blow to the company's efforts to strengthen its women's health business.

Meanwhile, Actavis filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for its ethinyl estradiol and etonogestrel vaginal ring with the FDA last week. Ethinyl estradiol and etonogestrel vaginal ring is the generic version of Merck & Co.'s (NYSE:MRK-Free Report) NuvaRing, which is an estrogen/progestin combination hormonal contraceptive approved for the prevention of pregnancy.

Actavis believes that it is the first to file an ANDA for the generic version of NuvaRing. Consequently, it should enjoy 180 days of marketing exclusivity. As per data released by IMS Health, NuvaRing grossed total U.S. sales of around $560 million for the 12 months ending Oct 31, 2013.

We note that Merck has filed a lawsuit (under the provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act) against Actavis seeking to prevent the latter from commercializing its generic version of NuvaRing before the expiration of U.S. Patent No 5,989,581.

Actavis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks include Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. (NYSE:RDY-Free Report), which carries 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.

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