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What Is the Best Weight Loss Stock to Buy Now? Our Top 3 Picks.

Data indicates that many more Americans have become aware of the dangers of obesity. Here are the best weight loss stocks to buy now

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According to Harvard University, about two-thirds of United States adults are “overweight or obese,” while 36% are obese. And the university predicts that, at the current rate, about 50% of Americans will be obese by 2030. But the good news is that the obesity rate seems to have declined in recent years. That’s because in 2018, the U.S. adult obesity rate was 42.4%. I believe that the drop was triggered mainly by two factors: the weight-loss drugs that have become much more widely prescribed in the last year and increased awareness about the health dangers of obesity that arose during the coronavirus pandemic. Now is the time to buy the top weight loss stocks.

More specifically regarding the latter point, as I’ve stated in past columns, I believe that widely available information about the impact of obesity on coronavirus patients during the pandemic led many more Americans to learn about the health dangers of obesity. And as a consequence of this increased awareness I think that many businesses which are helping Americans lose weight are thriving and are likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. Here are the best three weight loss stocks to buy now.

Top Weight Loss Stocks: Life Time Group (LTH)

Life Time Group (NYSE:LTH) owns and operates fitness clubs for wealthy Americans. In the current economic environment, wealthy Americans are doing quite well economically as their salaries are rising significantly faster than inflation, the stock market is performing well, and the profits of most of the firms that they own are climbing meaningfully.

What’s more, Life Time invested in its operations last year in order to increase the attractiveness of its clubs. Specifically, it added “new pickleball courts and personal training programs.” The firm reported in October that those investments had driven increased visits at its clubs, “with average member visits up 24%” between 2019 and 2023.

Unsurprisingly, Life Time is benefiting from both of the trends that I described above. Last quarter, its sales jumped 18.2% versus the same period a year earlier, while its EBITDA, excluding certain items, soared 28.7% year-over-year to $137.7 million.

Given the firm’s strong growth, its forward price-earnings ratio of 24 times is quite low.

Viking Therapeutics (VKTX)

Viking (NASDAQ:VKTX) has developed a weight-loss drug that appears to be equivalent or even superior to the leading treatments in the sector.

In a Phase 2 trial, Viking’s drug “demonstrated up to 13.1% placebo-adjusted weight loss,” the company reported. That is above the 12.4% and 12.7% that the market leading drugs developed by Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), respectively, have attained in past trials.

In early January, I named Viking as one of three potential takeover targets in the pharmaceutical space. On Jan. 31, The Financial Times reported that an unnamed drug maker may have approached Viking about taking it over. Some speculated that Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)could have been a suitor.

A deal has not yet materialized. But given the huge market for obesity drugs and the strong performance of Viking’s treatment in clinical trials, I would not be surprised if Viking is ultimately acquired at a high premium to its current price.

And if it is not acquired, its drug will probably propel it way above its current market capitalization of $8.7 billion in the longer term.

Xponential Fitness (XPOF)

Described as “the largest global franchisor of boutique fitness brands,” Xponential Fitness (NYSE:XPOF) focuses on franchising small fitness studios. Last November, the firm launched its 3000th site, and Xponential says that it’s “opening 500 to 600 studios a year.” The firm will look to open 1,2000 studios outside of America. XPOF already has franchises in 23 countries,

Among its brands are CycleBar, Club Pilates, YogaSix, and Rumble, a boxing studio.

In a note to investors on April 30, Lake Street Capital called XPOF stock “undervalued” and was upbeat on the company’s business model. Lake Street believes that the firm can increase its EBITDA further and kept a “buy” rating on the shares.

Last year, Xponential’s operating income jumped to $45.2 million from $28.9 million in 2023.

On the date of publication, Larry Ramer did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 15 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015. Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been SMCI, INTC, and MGM. You can reach him on Stocktwits at @larryramer.

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