The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Morgan Stanley, General Motors, Prudential Financial, Exelon and Sanofi

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.

Today's Analyst Reports

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 >> )

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Exelon (NYSE: EXC - Free Report ) and Sanofi (NYSE: SNY - 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.

Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News

Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.

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Morgan Stanley (MS): Free Stock Analysis Report

General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Prudential Financial, Inc. (PRU): Free Stock Analysis Report

Exelon Corporation (EXC): Free Stock Analysis Report

Sanofi (SNY): 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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