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Here's Why You Should Retain Patterson Companies (PDCO) Now

Zacks Equity Research

Patterson Companies, Inc. PDCO continues to benefit from broad product portfolio, strong prospects in Animal Health unit and prudent acquisitions. However, stiff competition continues to plague the stock.

The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Price Performance

Shares of Patterson Companies lost 7.2% on a year-to-date basis, against the industry’s growth of 13.5%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index rallied 18.6% in the same time period.

What’s Deterring the Stock?

Given the highly competitive U.S. dental products distribution industry, comprising of national, regional and local full-service and mail-order distributors, Patterson Companies is subjected to intense competition.

Patterson Companies faces competition from another national, full-service firm, Henry Schein Dental, a unit of Henry Schein HSIC.

What’s Favoring the Stock?

Patterson Companies continues to gain from broad product portfolio. The company’s wide range of products hedges it from any meaningful sales shortfall during an economic downturn.

During the second quarter of 2019, the company introduced a new private label brand named Pivotal, while continuing to add SKUs to its broader private label portfolio. Patterson Companies stands to benefit from private label brands as they enable the company to serve customers with brilliant products at a reasonable price and attractive margin profile.

Patterson Companies' growing Animal Health unit is a key catalyst. Management expects solid margin improvement in the Animal Health Unit through stronger partnerships with product manufacturers and strong sales execution.

Moreover, prudent acquisitions have been helping the company to expand business. In recent past, Patterson Dental Supply, Inc., a business unit of Patterson Companies announced that it acquired Fitzpatrick Dental Design, a dental office design and dental equipment dealer located in Moorpark, CA.

We believe that the company will continue to pursue strategic acquisitions in a bid to expand product portfolio and improve competitive position over the long term.

Which Way Are Estimates Headed?

For fiscal 2020, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $5.62 billion, indicating an improvement of 0.8% from the year-ago period. The same for earnings stands at $1.38 per share, suggesting a decline of 1.6% from the year-ago reported figure.

Key Picks

Some better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Baxter International Inc. BAX and CONMED Corporation CNMD, each currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Baxter has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12.8%.

CONMED has a long-term earnings growth rate of 14.9%.

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