The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Cisco, Home Depot, Merck, Humana and Public Service Enterprise

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - July 16, 2019 - Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Cisco CSCO , Home Depot HD , Merck MRK , Humana HUM and Public Service Enterprise Group PEG .

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Top Stock Reports for Cisco, Home Depot and Merck

 The Zacks Research Daily presents the best research output of our analyst team. Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Cisco, Home Depot and Merck. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

You can see  all of  today's research reports here >>>

Cisco 's shares have gained +33.7% year to date, outperforming the Zacks Computer Networking industry's increase of +32.4%. The Zacks analyst thinks Cisco is benefiting from its expanding footprint in the rapidly growing security market. Strong contributions from security, infrastructure platforms and applications are a positive.

Order strength and improving traction of the subscription-based business model are other tailwinds. Strengthening collaboration portfolio which now includes Webex Teams and Accompany bodes well. Partnerships with Telenor, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Google Cloud are notable.

The buyout of Duo Security and Luxtera should help the company expand its IT and data center clientele. However, weakness in switching and routing is a headwind. Arista's intention of manufacturing switches that connect campus networks is likely to hurt Cisco as it holds a dominant position in that market.

Shares of Home Depot have gained +27% year to date, outperforming the Zacks Retail Building Products industry's +22.8% increase. The Zacks analyst thinks that this is attributable to a robust surprise trend that continued in first-quarter fiscal 2019. With this, it retained its five-year long trend o f earnings beats, with positive sales surprise in nine of the last 11 quarters.

Results gained from strength in Pro and DIY categories. The company's efforts to provide an interconnected shopping experience to customers with localized and innovative products, and improved productivity also aided its quarterly performance. However, the company reported soft comps in the fiscal first quarter, which lagged analysts' expectations.

Tough year-over-year comparisons owing to hurricane-related sales hurt comps. The company's top-line performance in the first quarter was also hurt by adverse weather in February and deflation in lumber prices .

Merck 's shares have increased +4.3% year to date, outperforming the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's decline of -1.6% during the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks Merck's new products like Keytruda, Lynparza and Bridion are contributing meaningfully to its top line.

Keytruda sales are gaining momentum with approval for additional indications, especially in the first-line lung cancer setting. Keytruda has strong growth prospects based on recent approvals for new indications. Animal health and vaccine products are also performing strongly and remain core growth drivers for Merck.

However, generic competition for several drugs and pricing pressure will continue to be overhangs on the top line. Rising competitive pressure on the diabetes franchise and products like Isentress (HIV), Zepatier (HCV) and Zostavax (vaccine) remains a concern. Estimates have gone up ahead of Q2 results. Merck has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.   

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Humana and Public Service Enterprise Group.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss . This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PEG): Free Stock Analysis Report

Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO): Free Stock Analysis Report

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report

The Home Depot, Inc. (HD): Free Stock Analysis Report

Humana Inc. (HUM): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: PEG , CSCO , MRK , HD , HUM

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