Friday, January 27 2017
The Zacks Research Daily features the best output of our research team every day. In today's write-up, we are featuring analyst reports on 16 major stocks, including reports on AT&T (T), Biogen (BIIB) and Qualcomm (QCOM). These stock research reports have been hand-picked from the 70 or so reports published by our analyst team today. You can see all of today's research reports here >>
In addition to the stock research reports, we are also giving you a real-time scorecard of the ongoing Q4 earnings season. We take pride in closely monitoring each and every earnings report and presenting our analysis of emerging trends in the weekly Earnings Trends and Earnings Preview reports. Our latest Earnings Trends report is: 3 Takeaways from the Q4 Earnings Season
Q4 Earnings Scorecard : We are one-third into the Q4 earnings season, with results from 170 S&P 500 members, or 33.9% of the index's total membership, already out. More than 400 companies are on the docket to report quarterly results next week, including 106 S&P 500 members. By the end of next week, we will have seen Q4 results from 55% of S&P 500 members.
Total earnings for the 170 index members that have reported results already are up +6% on +3.1% higher revenues, with 64.1% beating EPS estimates and 54.7% beating revenue estimates. This is better earnings and revenue growth performance than we have seen from this group of 170 S&P 500 members in other recent periods, even after adjusting for the strong growth from the Finance sector. The proportion of companies beating EPS and revenue estimates, however, is tracking moderately below other recent periods.
Looking at Q4 as a whole, combining the actual results from the 170 index members with estimates from the still-to-come 330 companies, total earnings are expected to be up +5.2% from the same period last year on +4% higher revenues. This is the best earnings and revenue growth pace in the last 8 quarters. Importantly, estimates for the current period (2017 Q1) are holding up fairly well; they are coming down, but not at the pace as would typically expected. All of this should help add to confidence in market expectations for the current and following quarters when growth is expected to notably ramp up.
AT&T shares have surged +14.4% over the three months, outperforming the Zacks Wireless industry and competitor Verizon, which have gained +10.9% and +1.7% over the same period. While Q4 results were mixed (modestly missed on the top-line even as it matched bottom-line expectations), trends in the wireless business pointed towards stabilization in terms of the subscriber base and the churn rate. Market participants also appear to be satisfied with AT&T's strategic moves like the DirectTV purchase and the pending Time Warner deal even as Verizon's path seems muddled. That said, there is shortage of issues facing the company, like a saturated wireless market where spectrum crunch is a big issue, persistent losses in access lines, and stringent regulatory mandates. (You can read the full research report on AT&T here >> )
Biogen shares initially gained from the post-election rally, but have since underperformed the broader pharma space as the macro issues plaguing the space still continue. Biogen reported mixed fourth-quarter results, beating on earnings but missing on sales. These issues notwithstanding, the analyst likes the stock's strong position in the multiple sclerosis market primarily due to a wide range of products. Cost cutting efforts and MS franchise sales should continue to drive growth. Moreover, the upcoming spin-off of the hemophilia business will allow Biogen to focus on the neurology segment, its key area of expertise. (You can read the full research report on Biogen here >> )
Qualcomm shares have suffered lately, with the stock losing -21% over the last three months vs. the -3.6% decline for the Zacks Wireless Equipment industry. Qualcomm posted mixed quarterly results recently, with the bottom line meeting expectations and the top line falling short. But the Zacks analyst likes the company's active involvement in the production of chipsets for the 5G standard. Also, Qualcomm is widening its presence in adjacent opportunities, including automotive, networking, and mobile computing strategies. However, aggressive competition in the mobile phone chipset market, stringent regulatory norms and anti-competitive charges are some of the major headwinds faced by the company. (You can read the full research report on Qualcomm here >> )
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Facebook (FB), Comcast (CMCSA) and Royal Caribbean (RCL).
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Director of Research
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 Preview reports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here >>>
Today's Must Read
The Zacks analyst believes that the growth in Comcast's Internet TV service, Cable business and the NBC Universal segment have helped the company generate more revenues from the year-ago quarter.
The covering analyst thinks Whirlpool's fourth quarter was driven by solid product pipeline, acquisition synergies and cost-productivity efforts.
The Zacks analyst thinks Kimberly-Clark's fourth quarter 2016 earnings were boosted by cost savings and lower taxes, despite sluggish organic sales growth and currency headwinds.
The covering analyst thinks State Street remains well positioned to grow revenue amid improving rate scenario and steady economic recovery.
Strong yields and efficient cost management aided Royal Caribbean to beat on Q4 earnings. Per the Zacks analyst, favorable booking trends and profitability initiatives should continue to drive growth.
The Zacks analyst thinks Quest Diagnostics' fourth-quarter earnings were boosted by solid execution of its strategy to grow esoteric testing and drive profitable growth.
For 2017, the company anticipates earnings to grow 9% year over year at mid point.
The Zacks analyst thinks that Freeport should gain from its aggressive cost and debt reduction actions and efforts to expand its production capacity amid a still difficult operating environment.
The covering analyst believes Facebook's mobile and live video efforts will continue to boost the topline along with ample other growth catalysts like monetization of subsidiaries and push into VR.
The Zacks analyst expects Rockwell Automation to benefit from acquisitions, restructuring, and growth in U.S and emerging markets. Further, its new Connected Enterprise initiative will be a catalyst.
The Zacks analyst thinks Philips is exposed to rising uncertainties in some end markets, despite returning to profit in Q4. Also, it is facing a defibrillator dispute with FDA, which remains a risk.
Brown & Brown's fourth quarter earnings beat, but the company witnessed an increase in total expenses, which offset the top-line improvement and resulted in a decrease in pre-tax income.
The covering analyst believes Janus Capital's Q4 results reflects top-line pressure impacted by negative performance fees. Moreover, escalating expenses remain a concern.