The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Home Depot, Aetna, Dickinson, Kellogg and FirstEnergy

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - September 11, 2017 - 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 Home Depot (NYSE: HD- Free Report ), Aetna (NYSE: AET- Free Report ), Dickinson (NYSE: BDX- Free Report ), Kellogg (NYSE: K- Free Report ) and FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE- Free Report ).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Home Depot, Aetna & Becton Dickinson

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 (NYSE: HD- Free Report ), Aetna (NYSE: AET- Free Report ) and Becton, Dickinson (NYSE: BDX- Free Report ). 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 (NYSE: K- Free Report ) and FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE- Free Report ).

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Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News

Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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FirstEnergy Corporation (FE): Free Stock Analysis Report

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

Kellogg Company (K): Free Stock Analysis Report

Aetna Inc. (AET): Free Stock Analysis Report

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX): 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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