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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Western Digital, PulteGroup, Texas Instruments, Allstate and Campbell Soup

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - February 09, 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 Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC - Free Report ), PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM - Free Report ), Texas Instruments, Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN - Free Report ), Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL - Free Report ) and Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB - Free Report ).

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

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

5 S&P 500 Stocks to Break Above the Market Lull

After losing 0.1% on Monday, the S&P 500 gained less than 0.1% on Tuesday. This is keeping with the benchmark's movement recently, where it has traded within a range of 1% over an extended period. As the index remains stuck within the doldrums, market watchers are struggling to predict how long such a trend will continue.

That may be difficult to predict, but it could possibly extend over quite a few of the next sessions. Even as a better than expected earnings season has been pushing up the index, a number of factors, primarily the uncertain stance of the new administration have been acting as a drag on stocks. However, some components of the S&P 500 still hold the promise for superior gains and would make lucrative additions to your portfolio even at this time.

Trading Within a Tight Band

As of the beginning of trading on Feb 6, the S&P 500 had not experienced a daily trading range of 1% or more over 34 successive sessions. This was the longest such stretch in 22 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. This, in fact, has happened, and the market has continued to linger around similar levels on Monday and Tuesday as well.

According to Thomson Reuters data, this is the longest such streak since 1974. Since Dec 14, the average daily trading range within an intraday high and low has been merely 0.54%, per FactSet data. Last year, the average daily trading range stood at 0.96%.

Of course, the S&P 500 has gained 1% over this stretch and has also created new all-time highs, as recently as Jan 25. However, uncertainties regarding the Trump administration's policies, the reluctance of the Fed Reserve to raise rates and steep valuations have curbed any significant movement for stocks.

Expectations for Near-Terms Gains Low

The recent behavior of the S&P 500 stands in sharp contrast to its movement immediately following a Presidential election result which defied most expectations. Between the declaration of results on Nov 8 and Dec 13, the S&P 500 had surged 6.2%.

But large one day movements could continue to be hard to come by for the S&P 500 over the next few weeks, at least. According to CBOE Livevol, the historical volatility of the SPDR S&P 500 is currently at 6.5. The gauge, a measure of the S&P 500's volatility over two months, has now hit its lowest point in two years. At 8.1, the measure of historical volatility for three months is also at comparable levels.

Additionally, expectations for future price movements are similarly low for the next 30 days. Ever since the election, the market's preferred measure of volatility, the VIX has lingered at record lows. Currently at 11.29, the VIX is languishing far below its long term average which stands around 20.

Our Choices

Looking for stocks which are free of this trading rut presents a difficult task in this scenario. This is particularly true for the S&P 500's components, many of which are larger companies which may inherently not be susceptible to wider price movements.

In order to generate significantly large gains, it is important to pick stocks with significant momentum behind them. The Momentum Style Score is an indication of the time to buy a stock to benefit from rising share prices. The highest score is an A, so getting in on an A or B on a C or D could be a strategy for short term gains.

However, picking winning stocks may be difficult.

This is where our VGM score comes in. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of these three scores. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM score.

We have narrowed down our search to the following stocks, each of which has a good Zacks Rank, VGM score and Momentum score.

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC - Free Report ) is one of the largest hard disk drive producers in the U.S. The company's second-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings were impressive with both earnings and revenues exceeding estimates and growing year-over-year.

Western Digital has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), a VGM Score of A and a Momentum Score of A. The company has expected earnings growth of 38.1% for the current year. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 15.7% over the last 30 days. The stock has returned 17.7% since Dec 14, outperforming the Zacks Computer- Storage Devices sector, which has returned 10.3% over the same period.

PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM - Free Report ) engages in the homebuilding and financial services businesses primarily in the U.S. The company surpassed earnings and revenue estimates in fourth-quarter 2016 by 15.5% and 6.9%, respectively.

PulteGroup has a Zacks Rank #1, a VGM Score of B and a Momentum Score of A. The company has expected earnings growth of 27.9% for the current year. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 6.7% over the last 30 days. The stock has returned 11.3% since Dec 14, outperforming the Zacks Building Products - Home Builders sector, which has returned 3.1% over the same period.

Texas Instruments, Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN - Free Report ) is one of the largest suppliers of analog integrated circuits. The company's fourth quarter revenues and earnings grew year-over-year.

Texas Instruments has a VGM Score of B and a Momentum Score of B. The company has expected earnings growth of 9.9% for the current year. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 6.8% over the last 30 days. The stock has returned 5.1% since Dec 14, nearly in line with the Zacks Semiconductor - General sector, which has returned 5.2% over the same period. The stock has a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL - Free Report ) is the second-largest property-casualty (P&C) insurer and the largest publicly-held personal lines carrier in the U.S.

Allstate Corp has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), a VGM Score of A and a Momentum Score of A. The company has expected earnings growth of 28.2% for the current year. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 1.9% over the last 30 days. The stock has returned 7.6% since Dec 14, outperforming the Zacks Insurance - Property and Casualty sector, which has lost 0.3% over the same period.

Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB - Free Report ) is a worldwide manufacturer and marketer of high-quality, branded convenience food products.

Campbell Soup has a Zacks Rank #2, a VGM Score of B and a Momentum Score of A. The company has expected earnings growth of 5.3% for the current year. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 0.3% over the last 30 days. The stock has returned 7% since Dec 14, outperforming the Zacks Food - Miscellaneous sector, which has returned 0.3% over the same period.

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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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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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Western Digital Corporation (WDC): Free Stock Analysis Report

PulteGroup, Inc. (PHM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Texas Instruments Incorporated (TXN): Free Stock Analysis Report

Allstate Corporation (The) (ALL): Free Stock Analysis Report

Campbell Soup Company (CPB): 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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