Today's Must Read
Wells Fargo (WFC) Poised to Grow; Cost Woes Linger
AT&T (T) to Buy Straight Path Communications for 5G Wireless
Tuesday April 11, 2017
Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Apple (AAPL), Wells Fargo (WFC) and AT&T (T).
Buy-rated Apple shares have gained +22% over the last six months and have outperformed the broader market with the S&P 500 gaining +9.6% over the same period. The increase in iPhone demand caused by the launch of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus was the primary factor for such strong numbers. Also, “Services” revenues, which include App store, Apple Music and Apple Pay were impressive with App store sales in December alone topping $3 billion.
The buzz surrounding iPhone 8, which is already labeled a "super cycle," should allay investors fear about iPhone sales trajectory. However, macroeconomic headwinds in some key regions, most importantly in China along with increasing competition remain a concern. (You can read the full research report on Apple here.)
Shares of Wells Fargo have gained +20.3% over the last six months, underperforming the Zacks Major Banks industry which has gained +26% over the same period. The bank has yet to fully recover from the scandal even after a $190-million settlement with regulators. Recently, the Board of Directors released the findings of the independent investigation into the company’s retail banking sales practices and related matters which resulted in the compensation actions, among the largest in corporate history.
The new management team is making all the right moves, and further downside risks in the stock are low at this stage. But it will likely take a while for clouds to be fully lifted, though continued growth in loans and deposits and expansion moves should support its growth profile. Also, the company raised its prime lending rate to 4.00%, following the recent Fed interest rate hike, which is likely to alleviate margin pressure in the coming period. (You can read the full research report on Wells Fargo here.)
AT&T shares have lost -1.5% over the three months, but have still fared better than the Zacks Wireless industry and competitor Verizon, which have declined -2.7% and -7.9% over the same period. AT&T has decided to acquire Straight Path Communications to accumulate millimeter wave wireless spectrums for 5G wireless network. The AT&T-Time Warner deal gained European Union’s approval but still awaits U.S. Justice Department’s nod.
Market participants also appear to be satisfied with AT&T's strategic moves like the DirectTV purchase and the Time Warner deal even as Verizon's path seems muddled. That said, there is no shortage of issues facing the company, like a saturated wireless market where spectrum crunch is a big issue, persistent losses in access lines, and stringent regulatory mandates. (You can read the full research report on AT&T here.)
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Microsoft (MSFT), Eli Lilly (LLY) and Dow Chemical (DOW).
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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 >>>