5 Stocks to Watch Closely for the Rest of 2014

The year's not over yet: Pharmaceuticals and retailers are expected to make a splash before January

It would be easy for investors to let their guard down between now and the end of the year, thinking all the major 2014 news for stocks has already been unveiled. And for the most part, the assumption isn’t wrong.

5 Stocks to Watch Closely For the Rest of 2014There’s still a handful of stocks to watch closely through the end of December, however, as a few more major announcements and clues are in the queue. In fact, there are a few names that will face significant make-or-break moments over the course of the coming six weeks.

In no particular order, here are the market’s five most important stocks to watch through the end of next month.

5 Stocks to Watch: RadioShack Corporation (RSH)

5 Stocks to Watch: RadioShack Corporation (RSH)It’s a reality that’s been somewhat forgotten since October when it looked like the struggling retailer got the near-term cash infusion it needed to remain afloat, but if RadioShack Corporation (RSH) has a poor showing during this year’s holiday shopping season, it may well be the end of the company as we know it.

Just as a refresher, it was only in September the market was talking about a potential bankruptcy for RadioShack if couldn’t secure a new $585 million line of credit to replace the overly restrictive one  provided by GE Capital. Although the company’s liquidity woes were addressed in the meantime, it should be noted RadioShack has still never really secured the full (and fully flexible) loan it said it needed three months ago.

While we probably won’t know for sure if the retailer is a lost cause until January, between any holiday sales updates and the company’s earnings report due out in early December, the market will probably have a good idea about the organization’s future before the year ends. Thus, RSH stock is one of the top stocks to watch from here.

5 Stocks to Watch: Enanta Pharmaceuticals (ENTA)

5 Stocks to Watch: Enanta Pharmaceuticals (ENTA)Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc (ENTA) is another one of the key stocks to watch in December … late December to be specific. Dec. 21 is a proverbial D-Day for ENTA stock. That’s the projected date the Food & Drug Administration will make a final decision regarding the company’s hepatitis C treatment, ABT-450.

ABT-450 is a protease inhibitor that was co-developed with AbbVie Inc (ABBV). It’s unique, in that it’s an all-oral, interferon-free treatment for genotype 1 HCV. The drug has shown a sustained virologic response rate of 90% or better 12 weeks and 24 weeks after the treatment was administered.

And, though it doesn’t guarantee an approval, the fact that the FDA has seen fit to grant Enanta Pharmaceuticals a priority review of the therapy bodes well.

5 Stocks to Watch: Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD)

5 Stocks to Watch: Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD)Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD) was initially expected to report its Q3 earnings on Thursday of last week, but the release date was pushed back to Dec. 4. The rescheduling doesn’t change anything about the company’s expected performance, however.

That being said, the quarterly operating numbers have largely become irrelevant for Sears Holdings and owners of SHLD stock. Far more telling — and far more important at this point — is the balance sheet, which has been morphing as the organization sells productive pieces of itself just to last through what’s becoming something of a quarterly cash-burning extravaganza.

Almost as much fun as watching this slow-motion train wreck will be hearing the fresh excuses and recycled turnaround plans CEO Eddie Lampert is going to give shareholders.

Whatever the case, put SHLD on your list of stocks to watch closely in the near future.

5 Stocks to Watch: BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BCRX)

5 Stocks to Watch: BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BCRX)Enanta Pharmaceuticals isn’t the only biopharma stock that has a date with destiny in December. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BCRX) also has a major PDUFA announcement scheduled for Dec. 23. That’s when the FDA is going to make the call on BioCryst Pharmaceuticals’ influenza drug Rapivab (peramivir).

The odds generally favor those who on BCRX stock, as the drug has been approved for the same intended use in Japan and Korea since 2010, with no known problems developing in the meantime.

The specific reason BioCryst Pharmaceuticals belongs on a list of stocks to watch through the end of the year, however, is that if Rapivab is approved by the FDA, it will be the United States’ first and only single-dose, intravenously administared acute influenza treatment.

5 Stocks to Watch: Walgreen Company (WAG)

5 Stocks to Watch: Walgreen Company (WAG)Last but not least, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals isn’t the only company with news coming out on Dec. 23. In what has to be one of the most inconveniently timed earnings announcements of the year, Walgreen Company (WAG) will be reporting its fiscal Q1 results that day before the market opens.

Two days before Christmas is a tough time for investors to take notice of much of anything, which is why they’d want to make a point of putting WAG stock on a list of stocks to watch next month.

As of the latest look, the drug store is expected to post a profit of 75 cents per share of WAG stock on $19.3 billion in revenue.

As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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