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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AT&T, Biogen, Qualcomm, Facebook and Royal Caribbean

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - January 30, 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 AT&T (NYSE: T - Free Report ), Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB - Free Report ), Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM - Free Report ), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB - Free Report ) and Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL - Free Report ).

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

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Q4 Scorecard and Analyst Reports for Monday, January 30

The Zacks Research Daily features the best output of our research team every day. In today's write-up, we are featuring analyst reports on 16 major stocks, including reports on AT&T (NYSE: T - Free Report ), Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB - Free Report ) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM - Free Report ). These stock research reports have been hand-picked from the 70 or so reports published by our analyst team today. You can see all of today's research reports here >>

In addition to the stock research reports, we are also giving you a real-time scorecard of the ongoing Q4 earnings season. We take pride in closely monitoring each and every earnings report and presenting our analysis of emerging trends in the weekly Earnings Trends and Earnings Preview reports. Our latest Earnings Trends report is: 3 Takeaways from the Q4 Earnings Season

Q4 Earnings Scorecard : We are one-third into the Q4 earnings season, with results from 170 S&P 500 members, or 33.9% of the index's total membership, already out. More than 400 companies are on the docket to report quarterly results next week, including 106 S&P 500 members. By the end of next week, we will have seen Q4 results from 55% of S&P 500 members.

Total earnings for the 170 index members that have reported results already are up +6% on +3.1% higher revenues, with 64.1% beating EPS estimates and 54.7% beating revenue estimates. This is better earnings and revenue growth performance than we have seen from this group of 170 S&P 500 members in other recent periods, even after adjusting for the strong growth from the Finance sector. The proportion of companies beating EPS and revenue estimates, however, is tracking moderately below other recent periods.

Looking at Q4 as a whole, combining the actual results from the 170 index members with estimates from the still-to-come 330 companies, total earnings are expected to be up +5.2% from the same period last year on +4% higher revenues. This is the best earnings and revenue growth pace in the last 8 quarters. Importantly, estimates for the current period (2017 Q1) are holding up fairly well; they are coming down, but not at the pace as would typically expected. All of this should help add to confidence in market expectations for the current and following quarters when growth is expected to notably ramp up.

AT&T shares have surged +14.4% over the three months, outperforming the Zacks Wireless industry and competitor Verizon, which have gained +10.9% and +1.7% over the same period. While Q4 results were mixed (modestly missed on the top-line even as it matched bottom-line expectations), trends in the wireless business pointed towards stabilization in terms of the subscriber base and the churn rate. Market participants also appear to be satisfied with AT&T's strategic moves like the DirectTV purchase and the pending Time Warner deal even as Verizon's path seems muddled. That said, there is shortage of issues facing the company, like a saturated wireless market where spectrum crunch is a big issue, persistent losses in access lines, and stringent regulatory mandates. (You can read the full research report on AT&T here >> )

Biogen shares initially gained from the post-election rally, but have since underperformed the broader pharma space as the macro issues plaguing the space still continue. Biogen reported mixed fourth-quarter results, beating on earnings but missing on sales. These issues notwithstanding, the analyst likes the stock's strong position in the multiple sclerosis market primarily due to a wide range of products. Cost cutting efforts and MS franchise sales should continue to drive growth. Moreover, the upcoming spin-off of the hemophilia business will allow Biogen to focus on the neurology segment, its key area of expertise. (You can read the full research report on Biogen here >> )

Qualcomm shares have suffered lately, with the stock losing -21% over the last three months vs. the -3.6% decline for the Zacks Wireless Equipment industry. Qualcomm posted mixed quarterly results recently, with the bottom line meeting expectations and the top line falling short. But the Zacks analyst likes the company's active involvement in the production of chipsets for the 5G standard. Also, Qualcomm is widening its presence in adjacent opportunities, including automotive, networking, and mobile computing strategies. However, aggressive competition in the mobile phone chipset market, stringent regulatory norms and anti-competitive charges are some of the major headwinds faced by the company. (You can read the full research report on Qualcomm here >> )

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Facebook (NASDAQ: FB - Free Report ) and Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL - Free Report ).

Today's Private Buys & Sells from Zacks Research

While we share the above news with the public, our sensitive recommendations are hidden from everyone but selected members. Would you like to peek behind the curtain and view them? Starting today, for the next month, you can follow all Zacks' private buys and sells in real time from value to momentum . . . from stocks under $10 to ETF and option moves . . . from insider trades to companies that are about to report positive earnings surprises (we've called them with 80%+ accuracy). You can even look inside portfolios so exclusive that they are normally closed to new investors. Click here for Zacks' secret trades >>

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

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 >>.

Get the full Report on T - 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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AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report

Biogen Inc. (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis Report

QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Facebook, Inc. (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

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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