Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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 UnitedHealth Group (UNH), Comcast (CMCSA) and Exxon Mobil (XOM). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
UnitedHealth shares have outperformed the Zacks Medical Insurance industry over the past year (+23.9% vs. +13.1%). The Zacks analyst believes that the company has been benefiting from higher segmental contributions, which helped it counter the coronavirus-led fund crunch. Its numerous acquisitions bolstered its inorganic growth profile.
Its solid balance sheet and consistent cash flow generation encourage investment in business. By retaining its 2020 earnings guidance, the company restores investor confidence. However, it is witnessing a slowdown in its international operations. Commercial membership may also see attrition due to increased joblessness.
UnitedHealth’s earnings of $7.12 per share beat estimates by 37.45% and also soared 98% year over year. Strong earnings were driven by an unprecedented, temporary deferral of care in the company’s risk-based businesses.
Shares of Comcast have lost -3.8% over the past six months against the Zacks Cable Television industry’s rise of +4.2%. The Zacks analyst believes that weakness in film business is a headwind for Comcast. Moreover, its balance sheet remains significantly leveraged, which is also a concern.
Comcast’s second-quarter 2020 results were driven by solid growth in high-speed Internet, Business Services and Wireless segments. However, the coronavirus outbreak adversely impacted advertising, the theme park, film and Sky businesses. The fall in advertising revenues reflected reduced advertiser spending due to postponement of sporting events and continued ratings decline.
Further, Comcast persistently suffered video-subscriber attrition due to cord-cutting. Moreover, its Universal Studios Hollywood theme park remains closed. Further, Comcast expects Sky EBITDA for the third and fourth quarters on a combined basis to decline roughly 60% year over year.
Exxon Mobil shares have gained +57.8% over the past three months against the Zacks Integrated International Oil industry’s rise of +64.4%. The Zacks analyst believes that major discoveries in the Stabroek Block have enhanced prospects for ExxonMobil's upstream businesses.
ExxonMobil’s bellwether status in the energy space, optimal integrated capital structure that has historically produced industry-leading returns and management’s track record of capex discipline across the commodity price cycle make it a relatively lower-risk energy sector play. Notably, the company estimates gross recoverable resource of more than 8 billion oil-equivalent barrels from offshore Guyana discoveries.
The integrated firm also has a strong balance sheet with significant low debt exposure. However, ExxonMobil recently reported weak second-quarter results owing to coronavirus-induced weak commodity prices and reduced industry refining margins in U.S. & non-U.S. operations. Also, the company expects scheduled maintenance activities to continue to hurt downstream and chemical segments in the September quarter of 2020.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Microsoft (MSFT), Accenture (ACN) and Charter Communications (CHTR).
Biggest Tech Breakthrough in a Generation
Be among the early investors in the new type of device that experts say could impact society as much as the discovery of electricity. Current technology will soon be outdated and replaced by these new devices. In the process, it’s expected to create 22 million jobs and generate $12.3 trillion in activity.
A select few stocks could skyrocket the most as rollout accelerates for this new tech. Early investors could see gains similar to buying Microsoft in the 1990s. Zacks’ just-released special report reveals 8 stocks to watch. The report is only available for a limited time.
Director of Research
Note: Sheraz Mian heads the Zacks Equity Research department and is a well-regarded expert of aggregate earnings. He is frequently quoted in the print and electronic media and publishes the weekly Earnings Trends and Earnings Preview reports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>>
Today's Must Read
Per the Zacks analyst, Microsoft gains from expanding Azure clientele, and solid uptake of Microsoft 365 suite.
The Zacks analyst likes Accenture's buyout strategy to enter new markets, diversify and broaden its portfolio and maintain its leading position.
Per the Zacks analyst, higher subscriber strength in residential and commercial internet services along with broadening Spectrum Mobile user base is driving Charter's top line.
Per the Zacks analyst, Caterpillar's focus on cutting down costs will help sustain margins despite the weak demand owing to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Per the Zacks analyst, a number of acquisitions have helped Humana expand its portfolio, which in turn, aided its top-line.
Per the Zacks Research analyst, expanding user base driven by strength in popular franchises including FIFA and Madden NFL is aiding Electronic Arts' top-line.
The Zacks analyst believes Barclays' expense-saving efforts will aid financials to some extent in the future. However, revenue growth pressure due to low rates and economic slowdown is a key concern.
The Zacks analyst likes Concho Resources' strong current ratio of 1.8 and an undrawn credit facility of $2 billion that provides it with enough financial flexibility to survive the energy downturn.
Per a Zacks analyst, Flowserve (FLS) is poised to benefit from a solid backlog level of $2.1 billion at the end of second-quarter 2020. Also, healthy liquidity will help tide over pandemic-woes.
The Pollak business buyout is boosting Standard Motor's Engine Management segment prospects. The Zacks analyst also appreciates the firm's low leverage of around 6%.
Per the Zacks analyst, NiSource's exposure to ongoing fluctuation in natural gas demand and prices are likely to adversely impact its cash flows and performance.
Per the Zacks analyst, muted global M&A activities, given coronavirus-induced heightened market volatility and economic slowdown, will hamper revenue growth. Steadily rising expenses is worrisome.
Per the Zacks analyst, Michaels' is seeing lower sales and margins stemming from temporary store closures due to the COVID-19 situation.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report
Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report
Comcast Corporation (CMCSA): Free Stock Analysis Report
Charter Communications, Inc. (CHTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
Accenture PLC (ACN): 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.