The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Intel, UnitedHealth, Mondelez and Deere

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - January 08, 2018 - 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 MicrosoftMSFT , IntelINTC , UnitedHealthUNH , MondelezMDLZ and DeereDE .

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Microsoft, Intel and UnitedHealth

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 Microsoft, Intel and UnitedHealth. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

Buy-rated Microsoft 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Technology sector over the last year (up +38.6% versus +28.1%) The company is dealing with the recent security bug which poses a huge risk for users. In this context, it is rolling out patches to fix Windows kernels in order to address the vulnerability.

Additionally, Microsoft's recent blockchain deals with Hapoalim and Accenture and its Coco framework are tailwinds. The Zacks analyst expects rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365 to remain the key catalysts in the near future. Further, collaborations with the likes of Amazon, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are beneficial for the company's growth prospects.

Microsoft's strategic initiatives to enter the augmented reality and virtual reality market with the acquisition of Altspace VR and launch of mixed reality headsets are other positives. However, intense competition from Sony's PS4 is a headwind.

Shares of Intel have gained +21.8% year to date, underperforming the broader Zacks Technology sector as well as the red-hot semiconductors space, which are up +28.1% and +49.1%, respectively. But Intel is benefiting from robust performance of the Data Center Group, Internet-of-Things Group, Non-Volatile Memory Solutions and Programmable Solutions Group. These segments form the crux of Intel's data-centric business model.

Further, the launch of Xeon Scalable, Core 8 chips, Myriad X and next-generation desktop processors are key catalysts. The new desktop processors are expected to help Intel's gaming endeavors amid stiff competition from AMD and NVIDIA. Moreover, the Core 8 launch is expected to boost Intel's PC market share.

However, recently, the company has encountered a major security issue. The bug is apparently present in nearly every Intel CPU made within the last decade. The security flaw could provide attackers with access to security keys, passwords, and cached files of a device's kernel memory. Stiff competition from peers adds to its woes.

UnitedHealth 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Medical Insurance industry in the last six months (up +20% vs. +18.9%). The Zacks analyst likes the company's robust Government business and continued strong performance at Optum. International business and strong capital position are its other positives.

The recent announced acquisition of a Chilean company will further expand its overseas business. It has been witnessing an increase in membership for the past many years.

On the back of its impressive earnings in the first nine months, the company raised its 2017 guidance. Its strong guidance for 2018 also instills investors' confidence in the company. It has reduced exposure to the troubled public exchange business. Though this move will shield it from losses in this business, premium revenues are likely to be affected. Charges related to Penn Treaty are other causes of concern.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Mondelez and Deere.

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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 for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Mondelez International, Inc. (MDLZ): Free Stock Analysis Report

Deere & Company (DE): Free Stock Analysis Report

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report

Intel Corporation (INTC): 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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