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Looking for a Top Momentum Pick? Why Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND) is a Great Choice

Zacks

Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.

Even though momentum is a popular stock characteristic, it can be tough to define. Debate surrounding which are the best and worst metrics to focus on is lengthy, but the Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.

Below, we take a look at Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.

It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Ligand Pharmaceuticals currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.


You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>

Set to Beat the Market?

Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for LGND that show why this drugmaker shows promise as a solid momentum pick.

A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.

For LGND, shares are up 3.33% over the past week while the Zacks Medical – Biomedical and Genetics industry is up 3.09% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 4.78% compares favorably with the industry's 0.23% performance as well.

While any stock can see a spike in price, it takes a real winner to consistently outperform the market. Over the past quarter, shares of Ligand Pharmaceuticals have risen 31.07%, and are up 85.84% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 4.35% and 18.81%, respectively.

Investors should also pay attention to LGND's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. LGND is currently averaging 338,433 shares for the last 20 days.

Earnings Outlook

The Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with LGND.

Over the past two months, 3 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost LGND's consensus estimate, increasing from $4.93 to $6.33 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 2 estimates have moved upwards while there have been 1 downward revision in the same time period.

Bottom Line

Given these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that LGND is a #1 (Strong Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of B. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep Ligand Pharmaceuticals on your short list.


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Zacks Investment Research
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