The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Accenture, Applied Materials and Pfizer

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 18, 2024 – 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: Microsoft Corp. MSFT, The Coca-Cola Co. KO, Accenture plc ACN, Applied Materials, Inc. AMAT and Pfizer Inc. PFE.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Accenture

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 Corp., The Coca-Cola Co. and Accenture plc. 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 >>>

Microsoft has modestly outperformed the Zacks Tech sector over the past year (+55.9% vs. +51.3%) and done far better than the broader market over the same time period (+55.9% vs. +32.4% for the S&P 500 index). The company’s last quarterly results benefited from strong Intelligent Cloud and Productivity and Business Processes revenues. Productivity and Business Processes revenues rose due to a strong adoption of Office 365 Commercial solutions.

Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers grew to 78.4 million. Continued momentum in the small and medium businesses, frontline worker offerings and a gain in revenue per user drove the top line. Intelligent Cloud revenues were driven by growth in Azure and other cloud services. Solid adoption of Azure AI, which now has a clientele of more than 53,000 customers holds promise.

However, Office's declining commercial licensing has been a headwind due to the continued customer shift to cloud offerings. Higher operating expenses and spend on Azure enhancements amid stiff competition in the cloud space remains a concern.

(You can read the full research report on Microsoft here >>>)

Shares of Coca-Cola have gained +3.5% over the past year against the Zacks Beverages - Soft drinks industry’s gain of +7.9%. The company continues to witness positive business trends as reflected by its robust surprise history. KO’s sales and earnings beat estimates for the third consecutive quarter in third-quarter 2023.

Earnings and sales also improved year over year. Strong revenue growth across most of its operating segments aided by improved price/mix and increased concentrate sales boosted the results. It is poised to gain from innovations and accelerating digital investments. It provided an upbeat guidance for 2023.

However, shares of Coca-Cola lagged the industry in the past year. KO continues witness inflationary cost pressures, related to higher commodity and material costs, as well as higher marketing investments.

(You can read the full research report on Coca-Cola here >>>)

Accenture shares have outperformed the Zacks Consulting Services industry over the past year (+51.8% vs. +48.1%). Technological prowess, contribution from acquisitions, strong growth prospects and dividend payouts make the shares attractive.

The company continues to witness strong demand for application modernization and maintenance, cloud enablement and cybersecurity-as-a-service. These trends are boosting its managed services business across the world. A disciplined acquisition strategy helps Accenture to channelize business in high-growth areas.

On the flip side, pricing pressure due to significant competition from strong companies like Genpact, Cognizant and Infosys, remains a concern. Global presence exposes the company to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.

(You can read the full research report on Accenture here >>>)

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Applied Materials, Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

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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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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Accenture PLC (ACN) : Free Stock Analysis Report

CocaCola Company (The) (KO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT) : 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.

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