The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Kraft Heinz, EOG, CME, TJX and Ecolab

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - March 6, 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 Kraft HeinzKHC , EOG ResourcesEOG , CME GroupCME , TJX CompaniesTJX and EcolabECL .

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Kraft Heinz, EOG Resources and CME Group

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 Kraft Heinz, EOG Resources and CME Group. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

Kraft Heinz 's shares have declined -26.3% over the last one year, underperforming the Zacks Diversified Food industry which is down -11% over the same period. Kraft Heinz posted lower-than-expected results in the fourth quarter of 2017 with both earnings and sales missing expectations.

Net sales increased by a meager 0.3% year over year, but earnings declined 1.1% from the year-ago level. Sales growth continued to face challenges in the quarter due to softness in the U.S. retail environment. Organic sales in the United States declined 1.1% year over year due to lower volume.

Soft consumer demand in North America and Canada along with a 4% year-over-year decline in gross profit affected the company's fourth-quarter earnings. Kraft Heinz has been struggling due to the shift in consumer preferences toward natural and organic ingredients over packaged and processed food. Additionally, earnings estimates are trending downward for 2018 over the last 30 days.

Shares of Buy-rated EOG Resources have gained around +1.3% over the last one year, outperforming the Zacks Oil & Gas E&P Industry, which has declined -15.9% over the same period. EOG holds premium acreages in the Permian, Bakken and Eagle Ford oil shale plays in the United States where it has identified 17,000 premium wells that could lend access to almost 11.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent estimated potential reserves.

In the Eagle Ford alone, EOG identified 7,200 locations that will drive the firm's oil production. Meanwhile, the company continues to lower its well drilling and exploration expenses.

In the next 10 years, EOG plans to drill many premium oil wells and its strong emphasis on reducing costs has led to an encouraging outlook. In the fourth quarter, the firm surpassed both the top and bottom lines, thanks to higher commodity price realizations.

Buy-rated CME Group 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Securities and Exchanges industry over the last one year, gaining +34% vs. +27.2%. CME Group's fourth-quarter 2017 results outpaced expectations but deteriorated year over year due to lower trading volumes.

The company remains well-positioned for growth on a strong market position with diverse derivative product lines. Efforts to expand and cross sell its core exchange-traded business via new product initiatives and global reach also support growth.

It intends to exit its credit default swap clearing business by mid-2018 and focus on over-the-counter clearing services on interest rate swaps as well as foreign exchange. This will free up $650 million as clearing member capital.

However, expenses remain a concern. Adjusted total operating expenses excluding license fees are projected to range between $1.10 billion and $1.11 billion in 2018. Exposure to interest rate volatility and limited credit availability might hamper liquidity.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include TJX Companies and Ecolab.

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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.

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Ecolab Inc. (ECL): Free Stock Analysis Report

The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC): Free Stock Analysis Report

EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG): Free Stock Analysis Report

TJX Companies, Inc. (The) (TJX): Free Stock Analysis Report

CME Group Inc. (CME): 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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