UBS Makes Big Biotech and Pharmaceutical Additions to Equity Focus List

If there was ever a time when investors are thrilled to see the calendar change it could be now. With the fourth quarter just starting, many are more than relieved to put the third quarter in the rear-view mirror, as it was the worst since 2011. Like many Wall Street firms we cover, UBS has made some changes to the Equity Focus list for the final three months of 2015.

The UBS Equity Focus list was outperforming the market smartly through July, but it underperformed during the recent massive sell-off. With a pro-cyclical bias, and an energy overweight, the analysts are playing for a long-term payoff that could be outstanding. Most importantly, the portfolio team is not looking back to second guess, but looking forward to economic and market potential.

Three stocks were added and three are removed, and with the UBS team firmly believing that markets are poised to rebound, the portfolio list will benefit.

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The following additions were made to the Equity Focus List:

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) saw solid revenue gains over the past 12 months. With a host of top-selling drugs, and an incredible pipeline, this top biotech company could be poised for an outstanding finish to 2015 and a stellar 2016. Gilead investors are paid a 1.75% dividend. The stock has traded in a 52 week range of $85.95 to $123.37 and closed Thursday at $98.27. Its consensus price target for the stock is $125.

Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) is poised to significantly grow earnings, driven by new drugs for cancer and diabetes, UBS feels, due to patent expirations on old-line drugs now behind it. The pipeline is very robust, with potential approval of drugs to treat cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease as potential catalysts. Also, investors are paid a 2.4% dividend. Shares closed Thursday at $85.18m within a 52-week trading range of $60.58 to $92.85. The consensus price target is $96.26.

Whitewave Foods Co. (NYSE: WWAV) makes its return to the Equity Focus List, and this under-the-radar company may have big potential for investors. The leading consumer packaged food and beverage company manufactures, markets, distributes and sells branded plant-based foods and beverages, coffee creamers and beverages, premium dairy products and organic produce throughout North America and Europe. The stock has traded between $32.05 and $52.52 in the past year. The consensus price target is $53.89. Shares closed most recently at $40.11.

The UBS team did some juggling in terms of what got removed from the list. They actually swapped out large cap pharmaceutical stocks, as Merck & Co Inc. (NYSE: MRK) was removed. Also removed was semiconductor capital equipment giant Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX) and Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW).

While the UBS portfolio may have struggled some during the intense sell-off, the analysts have constructed a solid list of companies that is poised to take advantage of a solid fourth-quarter rally and what looks to be a better 2016.

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