For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL - February 13, 2017 - 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 Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS - Free Report ), General Motors (NYSE: GM - Free Report ), Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU - Free Report ) Exelon (NYSE: EXC - Free Report ) and Sanofi (NYSE: SNY - Free Report ).
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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:
Top Analyst Reports for Monday: MS, GM, PRU
We are sharing today analyst reports on 16 major stocks in today's Research Daily, including reports on Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS - Free Report ), General Motors (NYSE: GM - Free Report ) and Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU - Free Report ). These reports have been hand-picked from amongst the 70 or so stock research reports published by our analyst team today. You can see all of today's research reports here >>
In addition to these stock research reports, we are also giving you a real-time scorecard of the ongoing Q4 earnings season. You can see our latest Earnings Trends report here - Positive Earnings Picture
Q4 Earnings Scorecard (as of Friday, February 10 th )
The bulk of the Q4 earnings season is now behind us, with results from 359 S&P 500 members, or 71.7% of the index's total membership, already out. With another 53 index members on deck to report results next week, we will have seen results from 82% of the index's members by then. Total earnings for the 359 index members that have reported results already are up +6.1% on +4.7% higher revenues, with 68.8% beating EPS estimates and 54.6% beating revenue estimates.
This is better earnings and revenue growth performance than we have seen from this group of 359 S&P 500 members in other recent periods, even after adjusting for the strong growth from the Finance sector (earnings growth would be +4.6% excluding the Finance sector on +4.6% higher revenues).
As we have been pointing out all along since the start of this reporting cycle, not only is Q4 growth on track to be the highest in two years, but the overall level of total earnings is also on track to reach an all-time quarterly record.
Importantly, while estimates for the current period are coming down, they aren't coming down as much as has historically been the case.
Morgan Stanley shares have outperformed the Zacks Finance sector over the last six months, gaining +52.7% versus the sector's +15.1% increase, with the company's better than expected fourth-quarter results adding to the stock's positive momentum (Goldman Sachs shares are up +47.3% in that time period). The analyst likes the company's efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance-sheet risks and shift focus toward less capital-intensive businesses. Further, the company's expense saving initiatives by implementing significant infrastructure expense reductions by 2017 are commendable. However, equity trading income distress, new regulatory requirements and intense pricing competition are concerns though the regulatory burden is expected to come down going forward. (You can read the full research report on Morgan Stanley here >> )
General Motors shares have been strong performers over the past year (the stock is up +30.8% vs. +28.1% for the Zacks Auto sector & +11.8% for Ford), though they have struggled lately despite strong quarterly results. The analyst likes the stock and points to its record of positive earnings surprises in recent quarters and improved outlook in emerging markets on the back of increasing capacity investments in those markets. It is also focused on investment in innovative technologies and vehicles for sustained growth. However, series of recalls, scaling down or shutting manufacturing operations in some regions and challenging South American market are headwinds for the company. (You can read the full research report on General Motors here>> )
Prudential shares have gained +4.2% in the year-to-date period, outperforming the Zacks Multiline Insurance industry, which has gained +1.1%% over the same period. Prudential's fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations and also improved year over year on the back of higher revenues, investment income and lower expenses. The analyst likes its high performing asset management business, widespread international operations and deeper reach in the pension risk transfer market. It has also been growing its pension risk transfer business. Expanded international presence, mainly in Japan, Korea and China, provides it with better organic growth opportunities than peers. A strong balance sheet and efficient capital management are other tailwinds. (You can read the full research report on Prudential here >> )
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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.
Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News
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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 https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
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