The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: General Electric, Altria, UnitedHealth, Caterpillar and Phillips 66

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - February 07, 2017 - 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 General Electric (NYSE: GE - Free Report ), Altria (NYSE: MO - Free Report ), UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH - Free Report ), Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT - Free Report ) and Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX - Free Report ).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Tuesday: GE, MO, UNH

Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including General Electric (NYSE: GE - Free Report ), Altria (NYSE: MO - Free Report ) and UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH - Free Report ).

General Electric shares have lagged the market over the last three months, gaining only +1.3% on concerns about the conglomerate's order backlog and continued weakness in the energy end-market. This issue notwithstanding, the company has done an excellent job of its plan to reduce its exposure to finance and get back to its industrial and engineering roots.

To that end, it is enjoying strong momentum in the power and aviation end markets, partly offset by continued weakness in the energy space. General Electric reported relatively healthy fourth-quarter results and has offered a bullish guidance for 2017 on healthy growth dynamics. (You can read the full research report on General Electric here . )

Altria shares have outperformed the Zacks Consumer Staples sector in the past three months, gaining +9.5% vs a -0.8% decline. Altria reported mixed fourth quarter earnings though earnings and revenue increased year-over-year. The analyst is optimistic about Altria's subsidiary, Nu Mark LLC, which expanded the distribution of MarkTen XL e-vapor products and Green Smoke e-cigarettes in several lead markets.

Overall, the company's growing market share in the e-cigarette category and efforts to adapt to the evolving consumer trends and develop less harmful alternative tobacco products are encouraging. However, higher fees associated with litigations and the FDA's anti-smoking campaigns are hurting profitability. (You can read the full research report on Altria here. )

Buy rated UnitedHealth shares have gained 47.1% over the last one year, underperforming the Zacks Medical Health Maintenance Organization industry, which has gained 38.2% over the same period. UnitedHealth's better-than-expected earnings were driven by strong results from both UnitedHealth Care and Optum segments. The company also reaffirmed the previously issued guidance for 2017.

The analyst stresses that the company is consistently gaining from the Medicaid and Medicare businesses. Continued growth at Optum is also creating a diversified revenue source. Also, UnitedHealth should benefit from its capital strength and niche market position. But losses on public exchange business and higher operating costs are some of the headwinds. You can read the full research report on UnitedHealth here. )

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT - Free Report ) and Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX - Free Report ).

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About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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General Electric Company (GE): Free Stock Analysis Report

Altria Group (MO): Free Stock Analysis Report

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report

Caterpillar, Inc. (CAT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Phillips 66 (PSX): 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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