Cisco Systems and Merck
Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Merck (MRK) are the top two performers in this year’s group so far. Cisco has managed to greatly outpace the market, with the position rising 15.6% year to date. Merck is also in positive territory, but with a much smaller 5.6% gain on the year. Cisco shot higher following its February earnings report, and the company will next report quarterly numbers on May 16. Analysts expect quarterly profit to rise from $0.58 to $0.65 year over year, which would be enough to push the stock even higher. Merck was showing a lot of weakness earlier in the year, but shares started to rally in April. However, May 1 brought a mixed quarterly report with earnings topping estimates while sales fell short of the consensus. The mixed report brought selling pressure back into the stock, which is now in danger of giving back its recent gains and heading back into negative territory. The outlook for CSCO remains bright, while MRK may struggle to remain in positive territory through the summer months.
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