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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Intuit, Express Scripts, Southwest Airlines, Kroger and Agilent

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - March 5, 2018 - 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 IntuitINTU , Express ScriptsESRX , Southwest AirlinesLUV , KrogerKR and AgilentA .

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

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Intuit, Express Scripts and Southwest

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 Intuit, Express Scripts and Southwest Airlines. 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 >>>

Buy-rated Intuit 's shares have underperformed the Zacks Software industry over the last year, increasing +29.9% vs. a gain of +33.8%. However, Intuit reported encouraging Q2 results. Its revenue and earnings performance improved on a year-over-year basis, backed by better-than-expected growth in Turbo Tax and QuickBooks Online.

The company also issued impressive earnings guidance for the third quarter. The Zacks analyst likes Intuit's growing SMB exposure and believes that its strategic acquisitions will fortify this segment. Due to the continuously emerging new technologies and current market trends, cloud-based business and financial software solutions have been gaining momentum.

As Intuit is already a market leader in this segment, the increased adoption helped it gain new customers, in turn, boosting the overall performance. Moreover, the company's strategy of shifting its business to cloud-based subscription model will help generate more stable revenues over the long run.

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

Shares of Express Scripts have outperformed the Zacks Medical Services industry over the last one year, gaining +3.5% vs. +0.5%. Express Scripts ended the fourth quarter on a solid note, beating both earnings and revenue estimates.

The company has been benefitting from a rise in patient claims and strong customer retention lately. Express Scripts' solid guidance for 2018 holds promise. The company recently inked an agreement to acquire eviCore healthcare for $3.6 billion. Express Scripts' pharmacy-benefit management segment (PBM) coupled with eviCore's complementary medical-benefit solutions is likely to build a comprehensive PBM solution worldwide.

On the flip side, the company recently announced that its biggest customer and leading health insurer Anthem is not likely to extend its PBM agreement with Express Scripts anymore. Persistent drug pricing issue is also anticipated to affect the stock. Intensifying competition also adds to the woes.

(You can read the full research report on Express Scripts here >>> ).

Southwest Airlines ' shares have outperformed the Zacks Airline industry over the past six months, gaining +11.2% vs. +10.9%. Further, the stock has outperformed its fellow low-cost carrier, JetBlue Airways, which has gained +6.4% over the same period.

In fact, Southwest seems to benefit from robust growth in passenger revenues backed by strong demand for air travel. This is further highlighted in the company's impressive January traffic report.

Additionally, Southwest's projection on unit revenues for the first quarter of 2018 is encouraging. The Zacks analyst is also impressed with the company's efforts to upgrade its fleet.

Moreover, efforts to reward shareholders through dividends and buybacks raise optimism in the stock. The new tax law is an added positive for Southwest. However, high operating expenses mainly due to the rise in fuel costs are hurting the bottom line.

(You can read the full research report on Southwest Airlines here >>> ).

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Kroger and Agilent.

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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 >>.

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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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Southwest Airlines Company (LUV): Free Stock Analysis Report

Intuit Inc. (INTU): Free Stock Analysis Report

Kroger Company (The) (KR): Free Stock Analysis Report

Agilent Technologies, Inc. (A): Free Stock Analysis Report

Express Scripts Holding Company (ESRX): 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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