Thursday, June 14, 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 CSX Corporation (CSX), Eni (E) and Kimberly-Clark (KMB). 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 >>>
CSX Corporation 's shares have gained +25% over the past six months, outperforming the Zacks Rail industry, which has gained +10.2% over the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks CSX is benefiting from the Precision Scheduled Railroading system, which was implemented by the company's former CEO - E. Hunter Harrison - who died in December 2017. The system, designed to improve its operational efficiency, is being backed by CSX's current CEO Jim Foote.
Furthermore, improvement in operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenues) is in tune with the company's cost control efforts. Strong performance of its intermodal segment is also a positive for the stock.
Efforts to reward shareholders through dividends and buybacks are commendable as well. Nevertheless, below-par performance of its automotive unit is a concern. The company's high debt levels represent a further challenge.
(You can read the full research report on CSX Corporation here >>> ).
Shares of Buy-ranked Eni have gained +11.8% in the last six months, outperforming the Zacks Integrated Oil industry which has gained +6.9% over the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks start-up of new upstream projects in Ghana and Angola has been backing Eni's oil production. In fact, the company expects oil and natural gas production to rise 4% through 2018.
Notably, the decision to spend €3.5 billion through 2021 for exploration and production operations in 25 countries will likely help Eni reach its daily production target of 900 thousand barrels of oil equivalent in 2021. Apart from upstream businesses, Eni is planning to achieve growth in refining, marketing and chemical operations.
Through 2021, the company projects free cashflow of more than €2 billion from downstream activities. Eni is also committed to returning cash to shareholders through dividend payments as it intends to increase the annual dividend in 2018 by 3.8%.
(You can read the full research report on Eni here >>> ).
Kimberly-Clark 's shares have underperformed the Zacks Consumer Staples industry over the last three months, losing -7.3% vs. -5.4%.The Zacks analyst likes Kimberly-Clark's solid cost-saving efforts, which drove earnings growth in the first quarter.
Earnings were also fueled by higher sales, which gained from focus on innovations. The company is well on track with its FORCE and 2018 Global Restructuring plans, which together are expected to deliver cost savings of more than $2 billion over the next four years.
However, higher input costs have been troubling the company for a while now. Commodity cost inflation of $175 million, stemming from greater costs of pulp and other raw materials dented Kimberly-Clark's adjusted operating profit in first-quarter of 2018. This also compelled management to raise its input cost inflation view for 2018 to a range of $400-$550 million.
(You can read the full research report on Kimberly-Clark here >>> ).
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Continental Resources (CLR), Caterpillar (CAT) and Check Point Software (CHKP).
5 Medical Stocks to Buy Now
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New products in this field are already generating substantial revenue and even more wondrous treatments are in the pipeline. Early investors could realize exceptional profits.
Click here to see the 5 stocks >>
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 Trends and Earnings Previewreports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>>
Today's Must Read
Lower Costs Buoy CSX Corporation (CSX) Amid Debt Woes
Eni (E) Continues to Gain From New Oil Projects in Angola
Kimberly-Clark's (KMB) Restructuring Plans to Lift Margins
Improving Demand, Cost Cuts Fuel Caterpillar's (CAT) Growth
Per the Zacks analyst, positive global economic indicators, rising commodity prices, favorable end-markets, cost control and investment in digital capabilities, poise Caterpillar well for growth.
Companhia Siderurgica (SID) Gains From Strategic Initiatives
Per a Zacks analyst, Companhia Siderurgica's efforts to improve its operations in the Mining, Steel and Cement segments will aid growth.
Solid International Business to Drive Iconix (ICON) Top Line
Iconix's international business has been performing strongly for over a year now. Per the Zacks analyst, further efforts to strengthen the international business is likely to drive Iconix's top line.
Check Point (CHKP) Gains on Product Refreshes & Buyouts
The Zacks analyst thinks that Check Point's focus on product refreshes and buyouts will back growth.
Expeditors (EXPD) Rides on Dividends & Share Buybacks
The Zacks analyst is impressed by Expeditors' initiatives to reward shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.
Cheniere Energy's (LNG) Gas Export Dominance Bodes Well
The Zacks analyst likes Cheniere Energy's competitive advantage of being the only natural gas exporter in the U.S. market and its excellent cash flow visibility on the back of long-term contracts.
Demand for Life-Science Assets Aids Alexandria's (ARE) Growth
Per the Zacks analyst, strong fundamentals in the life-science industry is likely to drive demand for Alexandria's properties.
Low Cost Assets, Steady E&P Activities Aid Murphy (MUR)
Per the Zacks analyst, Murphy's continuous development activities in U.S. and International locations and low-cost finding will drive the performance of the company.
Continental (CLR) to Gain from Oil-Rich Bakken Acreage
According to the Zacks analyst, strong focus on the low-cost and lucrative Bakken shale in a favorable oil price environment will help Continental Resources generate significant free cash flow.
Strategic Buyouts Boost Martin Marietta's (MLM) Prospects
The Zacks analyst stresses that with more than 85 acquisitions through 2017, Martin Marietta's systematic inorganic strategy has strengthened its Aggregates business.
Competition and Pipeline Setback To Weigh on Momenta (MNTA)
Per the Zacks analyst, while the FDA approval of Glatopa 40 mg should relieve Momenta, competition is stiff as Mylan already has an upper hand in the market. Pipeline setbacks are another concern.
Escalating Expenses Continue to Hurt Unum Group (UNM)
Per the Zacks analyst, rising expenses, mainly due to higher benefits and a change in reserves for future benefits plus interest and debt expenses, will continue to restrict Unum's margin expansion.
Price Increases by Suppliers Dampen Watsco's (WSO) Margins
Per the Zacks analyst, Watsco's margin performance will be impacted by mid single-digit price increases on both Carrier brand and ICP, by one of its major suppliers Carrier Corporation.
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 reportKimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB): Free Stock Analysis ReportEni SpA (E): Free Stock Analysis ReportCSX Corporation (CSX): Free Stock Analysis ReportContinental Resources, Inc. (CLR): Free Stock Analysis ReportCheck Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP): Free Stock Analysis ReportCaterpillar Inc. (CAT): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.