Top Research Reports for Microsoft, Intel & UnitedHealth

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Friday, January 5, 2018

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 Microsoft (MSFT), Intel (INTC) and UnitedHealth (UNH). 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 Microsoft 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Technology sector over the last year (up +38.6% versus +28.1%) The company is dealing with the recent security bug which poses a huge risk for users. In this context, it is rolling out patches to fix Windows kernels in order to address the vulnerability.

Additionally, Microsoft's recent blockchain deals with Hapoalim and Accenture and its Coco framework are tailwinds. The Zacks analyst expects rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365 to remain the key catalysts in the near future. Further, collaborations with the likes of Amazon, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are beneficial for the company's growth prospects.

Microsoft's strategic initiatives to enter the augmented reality and virtual reality market with the acquisition of Altspace VR and launch of mixed reality headsets are other positives. However, intense competition from Sony's PS4 is a headwind.

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

Shares of Intel have gained +21.8% year to date, underperforming the broader Zacks Technology sector as well as the red-hot semiconductors space, which are up +28.1% and +49.1%, respectively. But Intel is benefiting from robust performance of the Data Center Group, Internet-of-Things Group, Non-Volatile Memory Solutions and Programmable Solutions Group. These segments form the crux of Intel's data-centric business model.

Further, the launch of Xeon Scalable, Core 8 chips, Myriad X and next-generation desktop processors are key catalysts. The new desktop processors are expected to help Intel's gaming endeavors amid stiff competition from AMD and NVIDIA. Moreover, the Core 8 launch is expected to boost Intel's PC market share.

However, recently, the company has encountered a major security issue. The bug is apparently present in nearly every Intel CPU made within the last decade. The security flaw could provide attackers with access to security keys, passwords, and cached files of a device's kernel memory. Stiff competition from peers adds to its woes.

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

UnitedHealth 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Medical Insurance industry in the last six months (up +20% vs. +18.9%). The Zacks analyst likes the company's robust Government business and continued strong performance at Optum. International business and strong capital position are its other positives.

The recent announced acquisition of a Chilean company will further expand its overseas business. It has been witnessing an increase in membership for the past many years.

On the back of its impressive earnings in the first nine months, the company raised its 2017 guidance. Its strong guidance for 2018 also instills investors' confidence in the company. It has reduced exposure to the troubled public exchange business. Though this move will shield it from losses in this business, premium revenues are likely to be affected. Charges related to Penn Treaty are other causes of concern.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Thermo Fisher (TMO), Mondelez (MDLZ) and Deere (DE).

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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

Azure Strength, Office 365 Adoption Drives Microsoft (MSFT)

Meltdown & Spectre Poses Risk to Intel's (INTC) Customers

Strong Optum, Increasing Enrollment Aids UnitedHealth (UNH)

Featured Reports

Strategic Buyouts Aid Thermo Fisher (TMO) Amid Rising Costs

The Zacks analyst is bullish on Thermo Fisher boosting top-line and new capabilities through buyouts like Patheon and FEI.

Weak International Pricing Weighs on Halliburton (HAL)

The Zacks analyst believes that solid execution allowed Halliburton to improve profitability at its Drilling and Evaluation unit but is concerned about pricing pressure in the international market.

Fleet Upgrade Buoys Allegiant (ALGT), Labor Costs Ail

The Zacks analyst likes the company's efforts to upgrade its fleet. Efforts to reward shareholders also raise optimism in the stock.

Improving Construction Sector to Drive Growth at Deere (DE)

Per the Zacks analyst, Deere's revenues will mainly be driven by rising construction investment led by residential activity and infrastructure.

Emerson (EMR) to Gain from Strong HVAC Demand, Margins Weak

Per the Zacks analyst, Emerson is enjoying robust demand in global HVAC and refrigeration markets, higher optimization projects and MRO activity.

Trimble (TRMB) Benefits from Buyouts; Europe A Concern

The Zacks analyst believes that Trimble's acquisition strategy, product enhancements, along with its re-aligned cost structure are positives.

Mondelez (MDLZ) Fights Weak Volumes with Cost-Saving Plans

The covering analyst stresses that Mondelez's efficient cost savings has resulted in margin expansion despite weak volume trends owing to sluggish demand.

New Upgrades

Everest Re (RE) Set to Grow on Compelling Product Portfolio

Per the Zacks analyst, Everest Re is poised to benefit from its global presence, product diversification, capital adequacy, financial flexibility and traditional risk management capabilities.

Verisk (VRSK) Leverages Domain Expertise to Gain Mileage

Per the Zacks analyst, Verisk continuously seeks to expand its portfolio by leveraging its deep knowledge and embedded position to develop new, proprietary data sets and predictive analytics.

Praxair (PX) to Gain From Rising Demand for Industrial Gases

Per the Zacks analyst, Praxair is well poised to gain traction from rising demand for industrial gases driven by manifold growth in its application areas. Backlog remains solid at $1.5 billion.

New Downgrades

Sarepta's (SRPT) Dependence on Single Product a Concern

Per the Zacks analyst, the dependence of Sarepta on single product, Exondys 51, is a concern for its near term growth. Competition in RNA-based treatment is another threat.

Aging Infrastructure, High Compliance Costs Hurt Ameren (AEE)

Per the Zacks analyst, aging infrastructure poses risks to Ameren's system reliability and may force it to incur unplanned costs. Also, Ameren bears high expenses to comply with air emission rules.

Stone Energy (SGY) Hurt by Falling Proved Oil & Gas Reserves

The Zacks analyst is concerned about Stone Energy's declining proved crude and natural gas reserves which will affect production.

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UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (TMO): Free Stock Analysis Report

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Mondelez International, Inc. (MDLZ): Free Stock Analysis Report

Intel Corporation (INTC): Free Stock Analysis Report

Deere & Company (DE): 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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