Top Analyst Reports for Home Depot, Aetna & Becton, Dickinson

Buy or sell dice

Friday, September 8, 2017

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 Home Depot (HD), Aetna (AET) and Becton, Dickinson (BDX). 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 >>>

Home Depot 's shares are up +26.7% over the last year, outperforming the Zacks Retail sector (up +17.8%) as well as the broader market (S&P 500 up +18.3%) in that same time period. The company has been consistently gaining from its interconnected strategy, focus on Pro customers, and housing market recovery. These factors helped the company post a stellar second-quarter fiscal 2017 performance, which marked its highest ever quarterly sales and earnings.

Pro category sales continued to outperform, driven by constant efforts to enrich customers' experiences. The sturdy first half performance and expectations of improved home prices encouraged the company to raise its fiscal 2017 view. However, gross margin remains plateaued, and is likely to fall 10 bps in fiscal 2017. Also, competition from online retailers may impact results.

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

Shares of Buy-rated Aetna have outperformed the Zacks Health Maintenance Organization industry year to date (up +31.4% vs. +28.3%). The Zacks analyst expects the company to derive long-term growth from its Government business. Cost-reduction initiatives and growing ACO collaborations have paved the way for long-term growth.

A strong balance sheet is another positive. Its International expansion is also perceived as an opportunity in the face of increased regulation in the U.S. Following strong second-quarter results, Aetna raised its earnings guidance which cements investors' confidence in the company.

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

Becton, Dickinson 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Dental Supplies industry year to date, gaining +22.3% vs. +18%. The company is steadily progressing with its planned acquisition of medical technology player, C. R. Bard. The $24-billion transaction is slated to be completed in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Post completion, BD expects growth in adjusted earnings starting fiscal 2019.

The Zacks analyst thinks the acquisition as a strategic fit which will generate benefits from complementary businesses and geographical expansion. BD's cost-control initiatives are also noteworthy. On the flipside, unfavorable sales performance from the BD Medical segment is a concern in the near term. Performance in the segment was affected by sluggishness in the Medication Management Solutions and Pharmaceutical Systems units in the U.S. (You can read the full research report on Becton, Dickinson here >>> ) .

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Kellogg (K), Conagra (CAG) and FirstEnergy (FE).

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Mark Vickery

Senior Editor

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 Trendsand Earnings Previewreports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>>

Today's Must Read

Focus on Pro Customers to Lift Home Depot's (HD) Margins

Strong International Business, Cost Control Aids Aetna (AET)

Becton (BDX) Banks on Bard Takeover, Medical Unit Sluggish

Featured Reports

FirstEnergy (FE) Gains From Rate Hike & Industrial Demand

The Zacks analyst believes FirstEnergy will continue to gain from its focus on regulated operation and rate hike. Increase in Industrial demand in four consecutive quarters boosts top-line.

Newfield (NFX) Banks on Oil-Rich Anadarko Basin, Debts High

Newfield's strong focus on crude shale plays in the Anadarko Basin will drive oil production.

JetBlue's (JBLU) Mint Service Impresses Amid Cost Woes

The Zacks analyst is impressed by JetBlue's efforts to expand its premium service Mint. Efforts to reduce its debt levels also raise optimism.

Kellogg (K) Strong on Cost Cuts & Renovation Efforts

Per the Zacks analyst, Kellogg's cost savings from Project K and zero-based budgeting plans along with efforts to renovate its line of offerings to keep up with changing consumer needs, bodes well.

Conagra (CAG) Experiences Inorganic Growth, Volumes Dismal

The Zacks analyst thinks that strategic inorganic moves such as divestiture of the Wesson brand or the buyout of Duke's brand will fuel Conagra's near-term growth despite dip in segmental volumes.

Investments on TV, Content Drives Apple's (AAPL) Prospects

Per the Zacks analyst, Apple's investments to buy original content and intent to enter film distribution improves growth prospects and diversifies revenue sources beyond iPhone.

Loan Growth Aids First Republic (FRC), Rising Costs a Woe

Per Zacks analyst, First Republic benefits from rise in loan balances driven by increased loan origination volumes.

New Upgrades

CarMax (KMX) to Benefit from Aggressive Store Expansions

Per the Zacks analyst, CarMax is expected to strengthen its presence and cater to a larger customer base through its aggressive store expansion initiatives.

CSRA (CSRA) Benefits from Frequent Federal Contract Wins

According to the Zacks analyst, CSRA is benefiting from frequent federal contract wins. Moreover, anticipated improvement in federal spending is a positive for the company.

MyDay, Clariti and Biofinity Platforms Buoy Cooper (COO)

Per the Zacks analyst, Cooper Companies has solid prospects in the MyDay, Clariti and Biofinity silicone hydrogel lens platforms. Of the other positives, the company has recently acquired Procornea.

New Downgrades

Keryx's (KERX) Dependence on Auryxia a Concern

Per the Zacks analyst, Keryx is heavily dependent on Auryxia for growth. Risks of interruption in the supply of Auryxia is a cause of concern.

Sluggish Top-Line Hurts VeriFone (PAY), fiscal '17 View Dim

Per the Zacks analyst, sluggish Asia Pacific and North America revenues hurt growth in the third-quarter of fiscal 2017. The company lowered fiscal 2017 guidance due to continuing weakness.

Big Lots' (BIG) Hard Home, Electronics Likely to Hurt Sales

Per the Zacks analyst, Big Lots is lowering SKUs across Hard Home and Electronics due to soft sales. As a result, it now projects full year sales growth in the range of 2-2.5% versus 2-3% earlier.

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

Kellogg Company (K): Free Stock Analysis Report

Home Depot, Inc. (The) (HD): Free Stock Analysis Report

FirstEnergy Corporation (FE): Free Stock Analysis Report

ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG): Free Stock Analysis Report

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX): Free Stock Analysis Report

Aetna Inc. (AET): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

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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