Top Stock Research Reports for AmEx, Las Vegas Sands & Aetna

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Friday, June 9, 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 American Express (AXP), Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Aetna (AET).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 >>>

American Express shares have gained +23.6% over the last year, higher than the broader finance sector's gain of +20.2%. The Zacks analyst likes its solid market position, strength in card business and significant opportunities from the secular shift toward electronic payments. Its strategic initiative focusing on platinum card portfolio and OptBlue program will drive business volume. It is also benefiting from cost reduction efforts, and return of significant amounts of capital to shareholders through dividend and share buyback programs. The stock has witnessed an upward revision in earnings estimate over the past 60 days. However, increase in provision for losses, a strong U.S. dollar, loss of Costco as a client and intense competition remain major near-term concerns.

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

Shares of Las Vegas Sands have gained +39.6% over the last one year, marginally higher than the gaming industry's increase of +38.6%. This strong performance reflects the company's exposure to the improving outlook for Macao where gaming revenues appear to have started growing again after struggling over the last few years. The addition of The Parisian Macao has further strengthened its Cotai Strip portfolio of properties. With stable operations beyond Macao (Vegas & Singapore) and limited capex needs going forward, the outlook for cash returns to shareholders through dividends (the stock yields an attractive 4.5% at present) and buybacks has notably brightened. The Zacks analyst points out in the updated research report published today that it will take some time for the region to return to its former glory as concerns related to the sustainability of revenues from the VIP market linger.

(You can read the full research report on Las Vegas Sands here >>> ) .

Aetna 's shares have outperformed the Zacks Medical HMO industry year to date (up +20.1% vs. +17.7%). Aetna expects long-term growth from its Government business. The Zacks analyst likes its cost-reduction initiatives and growing ACO collaborations which have paved the way for long-term growth. A strong balance sheet is another positive. The stock has also witnessed an upward revision in earning estimates over the past 60 days. However, Aetna's merger with Humana, which would have raised its rank in the industry, has been called off. Aetna has also been incurring losses in its public exchange business and has been exiting exchanges to avoid losses from this business. Furthermore, its membership growth remains under pressure. Increasing medical benefit ratios are also likely to hurt margins.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Yahoo (YHOO), Amphenol (APH) and Baker Hughes (BHI).

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Sheraz Mian

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

Today's Must Read

AmEx (AXP) Poised on Product Upgrade, Loss of Costco Hurts

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) Diversifies, Regulations a Concern

Aetna's (AET) Government Business Grows, Exchange Loss Hurts

Featured Reports

AvalonBay (AVB) to Gain From Demographics, Oversupply Hurts

Per the Zacks analyst, AvalonBay's rental revenue change for established communities slowed in May. While it would gain from solid portfolio and favorable demographics, supply rise is a major concern.

KLA-Tenor's (KLAC) Innovative Products Continue to Drive Growth

The Zacks analyst believes that KLA's comprehensive product line, strong cash generation capabilities and continued dividend hikes will increase investors' confidence in the stock.

Amphenol (APH) High End-Market Demand Mired by Currency Woes

Per the Zacks analyst, Amphenol is benefiting from improved end-market demand, new product rollouts and market share gains. However, high R&D costs and foreign exchange volatility remain headwinds.

Baker Hughes (BHI)-GE Merger to Combat Crude Weaknesses

The covering analyst believes that the merger of Baker Hughes with oil and gas business of GE will position it better to offset the impact of low crude prices.

Volume Growth Buoys C.H. Robinson (CHRW) Amid High Costs

The covering analyst likes the overall volume growth which is aiding the top line. Efforts to reward shareholders are also impressive.

Yahoo's (YHOO) Asset Sale on Track, Gains Shareholder Approval

According to the Zacks analyst, shareholder approval of the Yahoo-Verizon transaction is beneficial for investors.

Mitsubishi UFJ (MTU) Poised to Grow, Negative Rates Linger

Per the Zacks analyst, Mitsubishi UFJ depicts growth through global expansion and focus on Medium-term Business Plan (2015 to 2017).

New Upgrades

Cost Cuts, IMP Expansion to Benefit NCI Building (NCS)

The Zacks analyst believes that NCI Building will gain from its ongoing cost-saving initiatives and opportunities to expand IMP product lines. Robust backlog growth will also drive results.

Maxim (MXIM) Benefits from Strong Growth at Core IC Business

The covering analyst believes that Maxim's core IC business, which is well-diversified and highly profitable, is driving overall results.

Edwards (EW) Rides High on THV Prospects, Strong Pipeline

Per the Zacks analyst, Edwards Lifesciences is growing on its progress in THV segment with latest FDA nod for SAPIEN 3 valve which pulled up the share price. Its robust pipeline is also encouraging.

New Downgrades

Ensign Group (ENSG) Hurt by Surging Costs, High Debt Level

Per the Zacks analyst, Ensign Group suffers from rising cost, heavy debt, regulatory uncertainty from the pending repeal & replace of the ACA and stringent regulations faced by the non-U.S operations

Brown-Forman (BF.B) Loses Sheen, Currency Plays Spoilsport

Per the covering analyst, Brown-Forman's top and bottom lines continue to erode owing to currency headwinds and assets sale. However, the underlying net sales outlook for fiscal 2018 remains strong.

Hill-Rom (HRC) May Suffer from Adverse Currency, Competition

Per the Zacks analyst, with more than 30% sales generated outside, Hill-Rom faces hitch related to currency fluxes. Also, highly competitive Front Line Care and Patient Support markets are concerns.

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

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO): Free Stock Analysis Report

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS): Free Stock Analysis Report

Baker Hughes Incorporated (BHI): Free Stock Analysis Report

American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report

Amphenol Corporation (APH): 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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