The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Bank of America, Merck, Netflix, IBM and The Bank of New York Mellon

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - January 22, 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: Bank of America BAC , Merck MRK , Netflix NFLX , IBM IBM and The Bank of New York Mellon BK .

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Bank of America, Merck and Netflix

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 Bank of America, Merck and Netflix. 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 >>>

Buy-ranked Bank of America 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Major Regional Banks in the past year, losing -8.2% vs. -14.5%. Also, the company possesses an impressive earnings surprise history, beating expectations in each of the trailing four quarters. Its fourth-quarter 2018 results were driven by rise in net interest income, lower operating expenses and decline in provisions.

The Zacks analyst thinks rise in loan and deposit balances, higher interest rates and efforts to control expenses will likely support profitability. While dismal performance of capital markets has been hurting the company's investment banking operations, its initiatives to expand into new markets and digital offerings are expected to further enhance cross selling opportunities. Also, the bank's steady capital deployments reflect a strong liquidity position.

Shares of Buy-ranked Merck have gained +23.9% in the past year, significantly outperforming the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry, which has lost -0.8% over the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks Merck's new products like Keytruda, Lynparza, and Bridion are contributing meaningfully to the top line. Keytruda sales are gaining momentum with approval for additional indications, especially in the first-line lung cancer setting as it is the only anti-PD-1 approved in this setting.

Animal health and vaccine products are also performing strongly and remain core growth drivers for Merck. Meanwhile, Merck will continue to focus on cost-cutting initiatives to drive the bottom line. 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 on products like Isentress (HIV), Zepatier (HCV) and Zostavax (vaccine) remains. Estimates have gone down slightly ahead of Q4 results. Merck has a positive record o f earnings surprises in the recent quarters.

Netflix 's shares have increased +49% in the past year, significantly outperforming the Zacks Broadcast Radio and Television industry's gain of +9% during the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks Netflix's fourth-quarter 2018 subscriber addition rate reflects growing appeal of the streaming platform, which is primarily driven by a solid content portfolio. This is also helping the company counter competition from the likes of HBO, Amazon Prime video and YouTube.

Moreover, partnerships with telcos like Telefonica in Spain, KDDI in Japan, Comcast and T-Mobile in the United States, and Sky in the U.K. and Germany are expected to drive subscriber addition. However, management's weak guidance for U.S. streaming paid net additions for the first quarter of 2019 is expected drag down shares.

Netflix's decision to raise prices is likely to boost top-line growth and offset increasing marketing expenditure. However, continuing cash burn and huge debt level are primary concerns.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include IBM and The Bank of New York Mellon.

Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2019

In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-holds for the year?

Who wouldn't? Our annual Top 10s have beaten the market with amazing regularity. In 2018, while the market dropped -5.2%, the portfolio scored well into double-digits overall with individual stocks rising as high as +61.5%. And from 2012-2017, while the market boomed +126.3, Zacks' Top 10s reached an even more sensational +181.9%.

See Latest Stocks Today >>

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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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International Business Machines Corporation (IBM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Bank of America Corporation (BAC): Get Free Report

The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BK): Free Stock Analysis Report

Netflix, Inc. (NFLX): Free Stock Analysis Report

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

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

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

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