The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Union Pacific, United Parcel Service, American Tower, Marriott and Sony

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - November 20, 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 Union Pacific UNP , United Parcel Service UPS , American Tower AMT , Marriott MAR and Sony SNE .

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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Union Pacific, UPS and American Tower

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 Union Pacific, United Parcel Service and American Tower. 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 >>>

Union Pacific 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Rail industry (+30.5% vs. +25.5%) but lagged fellow railroad operator CSX Corporation (+46.1%) over the past one year. The Zacks analyst thinks the upbeat freight scenario is a huge positive for the company as bulk of its revenues stem from this source.

Over the past few quarters, freight revenues boosted its third-quarter 2018 results and were up 10%. The uptick was driven by volume growth and increased fuel surcharge revenues among other factors. A low effective tax rate also aided results. Efforts to reward investors are encouraging as well.

The company intends to repurchase shares worth $20 billion during 2018-2020 period. Dividend payout ratio is anticipated between 40% and 45% during the same time frame. Union Pacific's focus on promoting safety and enhancing productivity are impressive too. However, high operating expenses and debts are major concerns.

Shares of United Parcel Service have underperformed the Zacks Transportation - Air Freight and Cargo industry over the past one year, losing -2.8% vs. -0.6%. United Parcel Service has been grappling with high operating expenses for quite some time and the third quarter of 2018 was no different.

Operating expenses increased 9.4% in the third quarter, leading to a contraction in operating margin. The Zacks analyst thinks trade-war related tensions and high debts pose further challenges to the company. However, solid e-commerce growth aided its third-quarter results. Additionally, the company's transformation plan, unveiled in September 2018, is aimed at boosting its bottom line.

Approval of the deal by its freight workers is an added positive. UPS' efforts to reward its shareholders are also impressive. UPS' bullish full-year forecast on free cash flow supports the possibility of a dividend hike in the near future.

American Tower 's shares have outperformed the Zacks REIT and Equity Trust industry over the past three months (+8.7% vs. -2.4%). In third-quarter 2018, American Tower's adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) and revenues surpassed their respective expectations.

Revenues from the property and service segments recorded robust year-over-year growth. However, results were marred by escalating selling, general, administrative and development expenses.

The Zacks analyst emphasizes that the company continues to benefit from increased investment of wireless carriers in 4G LTE and 5G networks. Its asset base expansion in emerging markets and long-term tower leases with major wireless carriers lend it a competitive edge over rivals.

However, the company has a substantially leveraged balance sheet. Further, high customer concentration remains a risk. Particularly, the accelerated Indian carrier consolidation-driven churn has emerged as a near-term headwind for the company.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Marriott and Sony.

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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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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.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

Union Pacific Corporation (UNP): Free Stock Analysis Report

American Tower Corporation (REIT) (AMT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Sony Corporation (SNE): Free Stock Analysis Report

Marriott International (MAR): Free Stock Analysis Report

United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

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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