Making the Contrarian Case for 3 Nasdaq Outperformers

Current Nasdaq components Medivation Inc (NASDAQ:MDVN), Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST), and Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) have been on fire since the tech bust

May 1, 2015 at 8:03 AM
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The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) has put in a solid performance in 2015 -- up 4.3%, versus slimmer year-to-date gains of 0.1% and 1.3% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 Index (SPX), respectively. What's more, the COMP has been making a string of record-high closes of late, and has come within striking distance of taking out its all-time intraday peak of 5,132.50 -- hit in March 2000, at the peak of the tech bubble.

Against this backdrop, Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White crunched the numbers for stocks that are currently trading on the Nasdaq, and gauged how well they've performed since the tech bust. Three names that have turned in strong performances include drugmaker Medivation Inc (NASDAQ:MDVN), energy drink distributor Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST), and quick-service restaurateur Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA). Here's a quick roundup of how MDVN, MNST, and PNRA have performed on the charts, and how the sentiment is currently stacked on the equities.

Medivation Inc (NASDAQ:MDVN)

MDVN -- which began trading on the Nasdaq in March 2007, after previously being listed on the American Stock Exchange -- has been on fire over the past 15 years. In fact, based on its split-adjusted March 10, 2000 close at $0.64 and its April 27 close at $126.62, the stock has surged 19,655%, which translates into a 41.8% annualized return. More recently, shares of MDVN have doubled in value over the past 52 weeks, and were last seen lingering near $120.74 -- about 15% below their March 23 all-time high of $141.58.

In spite of this long-term technical tenacity, there are still pockets of skepticism to be found around the Street. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), for example, MDVN's 50-day put/call volume ratio of 0.42 rests in the 74th annual percentile. Elsewhere, it would take short sellers almost a week to cover all of MDVN's shorted shares, at average daily trading levels. Should the stock extend its uptrend, a capitulation from some of the weaker bearish hands could help fuel MDVN's fire.

Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA)

PNRA initially began as a division of Au Bon Pain Co., which started trading on the Nasdaq in 1981. Since being renamed Panera Bread in 1999, the stock has been a standout on the charts. More specifically, from its March 10, 2000 split-adjusted settlement at $3.25 to its April 27 close at $184.80, the equity has jumped 5,586%, which results in an annualized return of 30.6%. This technical tenacity was in full view last week, when the security gapped 11.6% higher, after announcing a pair of well-received fundamental developments. At last check, PNRA was seen hovering around $182.48, within striking distance of its May 2013 record peak of $194.77.

Not everyone has climbed on board PNRA's bullish bandwagon, though, which could translate into a fresh burst of buying power down the road. In fact, of the 21 analysts covering the shares, 13 maintain a "hold" or "strong sell" suggestion. Plus, the average 12-month price target of $180.65 stands at a discount to current trading levels. The stock could get a boost, should any of these analysts follow in the footsteps of Wedbush, Jefferies, and BMO, which all issued bullish post-earnings brokerage notes for PNRA earlier this week.

Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST)

MNST -- which was originally listed on the Nasdaq under Hansen Natural Corporation, until the company name changed in 2012 -- has been flying high over the past decade-plus. Between its March 10, 2000 split-adjusted close at $0.27 to its April 27 close at $143.44, the shares have rallied 53,901% -- for an annualized return of 51.5%. Over the past 52 weeks alone, the stock has more than doubled in value, and topped out at a all-time high of $144.69 on Monday, before easing back to its present perch at $137.11.

Similar to MDVN and PNRA, there is plenty of pessimism levied toward this long-time outperformer. The majority of analysts, for example, maintain a tepid "hold" recommendation on the equity. Elsewhere, MNST's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.17 ranks in the 90th annual percentile. In other words, short-term speculators have rarely been more put-heavy toward the security. An unwinding of this skepticism could help MNST in its trek for higher highs.


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