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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, JPMorgan Chase, Boeing and General Electric

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - December 21, 2015 - 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 Procter & Gamble Company ( PG ), Coca-Cola Company ( KO ), JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ), Boeing Co. ( BA ) and General Electric Company ( GE ).

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

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Dow 30 Stock Roundup

The Dow mopped up gains over most of the week following a rebound in oil prices and a positive response to the Fed's rate hike. The index gained on Monday following a rebound in the U.S. crude oil price. The Dow increased again on Tuesday, led by gains in energy and financial shares. The index gained for the third successive day on Wednesday after Fed policy makers unanimously voted to raise interest rates. The Dow moved lower on Thursday, led by declines in energy and materials shares, primarily because of a fall in oil prices. The Dow gained 1.4% during the first four trading days.

Last Week's Performance

The index gained 0.6% on Monday following a rebound in the U.S. crude oil price. U.S. crude oil price erased early losses on Monday to end in positive territory as traders who had bet on lower prices booked profits. WTI crude oil prices temporarily dropped below $35 a barrel, but bounced back 1.9% to close at $36.31 a barrel. Exxon Mobil and Chevron advanced 2.3% and 3.3%, respectively.

Moreover, investors chose to play safe by investing in consumer staples stocks. This boosted the broader markets and The Procter & Gamble Company ( PG ) and The Coca-Cola Company ( KO ) increased 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively. However, investors remained concerned about junk bonds which continued to experience a selloff.

The Dow increased 0.9% on Tuesday, led by gains in energy and financial shares. U.S. crude oil price continued to rebound from a near seven-year low hit on expectations that U.S. crude inventories declined last week. According to The Wall Street Journal , the U.S. EIA was likely to report a decline in crude supplies by 1.4 million barrels for the week ending Dec 11 on Wednesday.

Separately, pricing agency Platts predicted that U.S. crude inventories would decline by 2.5 million barrels for the same period. Meanwhile, Congress is expected to lift a 40-year old ban on oil exports. WTI crude oil price increased for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, gaining 2.8% to settle at $37.35 a barrel. Exxon Mobil and Chevron advanced 4.5% and 3.8%, respectively.

The possibility of a rate hike had a positive impact on the financial sector. Financial shares moved upward and Dow component JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) increased 2.9%. Meanwhile, CPI remained unchanged in November, following a 0.2% increase in October.

The index gained 224.18 points or 1.3% on Wednesday after Fed policy makers unanimously voted to raise interest rates. The central bank raised its key interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. The Fed said that the U.S. economy will continue to do well and a slight increase in rate was appropriate. Policymakers forecast the rate to move up to 1.375% by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, the Fed stressed that the pace of rate hikes will be 'gradual' in nature.

Defensive stocks including utility stocks rallied the most in nine months, banking on the Fed's signal that the rate hike was a tentative beginning to a "gradual" tightening cycle. However, the Fed's move to raise rates was widely telegraphed and has been largely priced in by the bourses.

Meanwhile, industrial production fell 0.6% in November after decreasing 0.4% in October. On the other hand, building permits surged 11% in November to hit a five-month high. Additionally, housing starts soared 10.5%.

The Dow dropped 253.25 points or 1.4% on Thursday, led by declines in energy and materials shares. Oil prices ended lower due to an unexpected rise in U.S. crude inventories. According to the EIA, crude supplies for the week ending Dec 11, increased by 4.8 million barrels. On the other hand, pricing agency Platts had forecast a decrease by 2.5 million barrels.

Meanwhile, the dollar strengthened against most of the major currencies following the Federal Reserve's decision to hike benchmark interest rates in nearly a decade. A stronger dollar also intensified the downward pressure on oil prices. The WTI crude oil price fell 1.6% to end at $34.95 a barrel, its lowest settlement price since Feb 2009.

Components Moving the Index

Boeing Co. ( BA ) boosted its quarterly dividend by 20% and raised its stock-repurchase plan to $14 billion to let investors share certain benefits of soaring airliner deliveries. Shares of Boeing gained more than 1% after the announcement on Dec 14 and have added 10.02% so far this year.

Boeing's quarterly dividend payout increased to $1.09 per share from 91 cents paid earlier. The company will pay the raised dividend on Mar 4, to stockholders on record as of Feb 12, 2016.

The company also said that it has finished its stock repurchases for 2015. The company has spent $6.75 billion out of the original $12 billion authorization announced last December and has currently $5.25 billion left. Notably, the latest increase takes the approved total to $14 billion.

General Electric Company ( GE ) inked a definitive agreement to sell its commercial lending and leasing business in Japan to the leasing arm of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group for about $4.8 billion.

Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing will acquire GE's commercial lending and leasing business in Japan, including capital finance, fleet service and vendor finance. The total assets sold are worth about $4.2 billion.

The offloaded business represented about $4.6 billion in ENI (Ending Net Investment). Subject to customary closing conditions, the sale is expected to close in April 2016. Upon completion, the deal will likely contribute about $600 million toward GE's targeted dividend of $35 billion under the divestment plan.

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PROCTER & GAMBL (PG): Free Stock Analysis Report

COCA COLA CO (KO): Free Stock Analysis Report

JPMORGAN CHASE (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report

BOEING CO (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report

GENL ELECTRIC (GE): 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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