Friday, May 11, 2018
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 Philip Morris (PM), ConocoPhillips (COP) and Alibaba (BABA). 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 >>>
Philip Morris ' shares have underperformed the Zacks Tobacco industry over the last six months (-19.8% vs. -17.5%) due to persistent declines in cigarette volumes, stemming from consumers' rising health consciousness and stringent government regulations on tobacco products. These factors, which have been marring cigarette industry volumes for a while now, led to a 5.3% drop in Phillip Morris' cigarette volumes during first-quarter 2018.
Nevertheless, solid revenues from the reduced risk products (RRPs) category are a major driver for Phillip Morris. The company is making constant efforts to expand in the space. In fact, the top and the bottom line grew year over year during the first-quarter, courtesy of favorable cigarette pricing and solid RRP performance, with the latter being driven by consistent success of IQOS. Management uplifted its earnings view for 2018, as it expects recent tax reforms to aid bottom-line growth.
(You can read the full research report on Philip Morris here >>> ).
Shares of ConocoPhillips are up +47.6% over the last year, outperforming the Zacks U.S. Integrated Oil industry, which has gained +33.6% over the same period. The Zacks analyst likes the company's initiative to divest non-core assets as the explorer could divert the proceeds toward oil-rich Eagle Ford and Bakken shale plays.
Significant opportunities are left for ConocoPhillips in the Eagle Ford where it owns 3,400 undrilled locations that could lend access to almost 2.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent estimated potential reserves. The company recently reported strong first-quarter 2018 results, courtesy of higher oil and natural gas price realizations.
However, we are cautious about ConocoPhillips' expectations of a rise in production and operating expenses. Moreover, ConocoPhillips' long-term debt is more than double its cash balance, which is a concern.
(You can read the full research report on ConocoPhillips here >>> ).
Alibaba 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Electronic Commerce industry over the last year, gaining +62.8% vs. +48.6%. The company's fiscal fourth quarter results were driven by strong momentum in the company's core e-commerce business, New Retail strategy and expanding cloud business.
Its recent investment in Lazada will expand its presence in Asia. The Zacks analyst likes the company's solid growth in the company's core e-commerce business, strong growth in metrics, expanding cloud business and international strength.
Other drivers include strong mobile strength and its continued efforts to develop new products. However, macro headwinds, continued investments and increasing competition from Tencent Holdings and Baidu remain the overhangs.
(You can read the full research report on Alibaba here >>> ).
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Anthem (ANTM), Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and Marriott (MAR).
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Note: Sheraz Mian heads the Zacks Equity Research department and is a well-regarded expert of aggregate earnings. He is frequently quoted in the print and electronic media and publishes the weekly Earnings Trendsand Earnings Previewreports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>>
Today's Must Read
Reduced Risk Products to Drive Philip Morris' (PM) Sales
ConocoPhillips (COP) Banks on Eagle Ford Acreage, Debts High
Alibaba (BABA) Drives On Retail Strategy; Investments Hurt
New Drugs Boost Roche (RHHBY) Amid Biosimilar Competition
Per the Zacks analyst, approval of new drugs and label expansion of Perjeta, Tecentriq and Alecensa bode well for Roche as stiff competition from biosimilars looms large for some of its key drugs.
Dermatology Business Boost Zoetis (ZTS) Amid Competition
Per the Zacks analyst, Apoquel and Simparica boost companion animal business for Zoetis amid competition for Revolutiion, Rimadyl, and Clavamox.
New Testing Hub in China, Partnerships to Aid Toyota (TM)
Per the Zacks analyst, plan to open a battery testing hub in China and tie-ups with other companies to develop electric vehicle technologies will aid Toyota to gain from the rising demand for EVs.
Franchise Strength Aids Activision (ATVI), Competition Hurts
Per the Zacks analyst, Activision's top-line growth is driven by well-known franchises such as Call of Duty, Overwatch & Candy Crush.
Marathon (MPC) Buoyed by Andeavor Buy Amid Speedway Woes
While the impending Andeavor buy will transform Marathon Petroleum into the top U.S. refiner in terms of capacity, the Zacks analyst is worried over lower product margin in its Speedway unit.
Marriott (MAR) Rides on Solid RevPAR Growth, Expansion Plans
The Zacks analyst believes that strong RevPAR growth in most of the markets worldwide will continue to boost Marriott's performance.
Anthem (ANTM) Well Poised to Grow on Increasing Membership
Per the Zacks analyst, solid medical membership and effective capital deployment pave way for long-term growth.
Prudent Capital Management Aids Regal Beloit (RBC)
Per the Zacks analyst, Regal Beloit focuses on prudent investment decisions for a disciplined capital allocation, strong & flexible balance sheet and cash flow enhancement to support dividend growth.
STERIS (STE) Grows on Synergy Health Merger, Tuck-in Buyouts
Per the Zacks analyst, strong portfolio post Synergy Health addition helped STERIS to fortify its global presence in sterilization service space. Solid financials have helped it to go for new buyouts.
Acquisitions, Divestiture to Aid Envision Healthcare (EVHC)
Per the Zacks analyst, an active acquisition strategy in 2017 has aided the company's inorganic growth, divestiture of AMR business will further help to focus on core business areas.
Middleby (MIDD) Troubled By Rising Costs & Lower Volumes
Per the Zacks analyst, rising costs, lower profits from acquired businesses, reduced volumes, unfavorable mix and ongoing restructuring moves might continue to dent Middleby's near-term profitability.
Soft Print Advertising Revenue a Worry for News Corp (NWSA)
News Corporation is grappling with soft print advertising demand, mainly in Australia and the U.S. Per the Zacks analyst, the company needs to ramp up businesses in digital space to offset the same.
Unfavorable Revenue Mix, Lower Renewals & Backlog to Hurt CA
Per the Zacks analyst, increasing mix of subscription-based licenses is expected to negatively impact CA's fiscal 2019 top-line growth. Lower renewal rate also remains a concern.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free reportPhilip Morris International Inc. (PM): Free Stock Analysis ReportMarriott International (MAR): Free Stock Analysis ReportConocoPhillips (COP): Free Stock Analysis ReportAlibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA): Free Stock Analysis ReportActivision Blizzard, Inc (ATVI): Free Stock Analysis ReportAnthem, Inc. (ANTM): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research