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Research Daily

Thursday May 4, 2017

Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Exxon Mobil (XOM), JPMorgan (JPM) and Union Pacific (UNP).

Exxon Mobil shares tracked the S&P 500 index through year-end 2016, but have lagged the broader index as well as the peer super majors group in the year-to-date period, likely reflecting the company's perceived defensiveness that disadvantages it relative to its 'oilier' peers. During first-quarter 2017, the company posted strong earnings on the back of increased realizations for liquids and gas as well as higher margin from the downstream business.

Exxon's resilient integrated business model has long been the industry gold standard, which makes it an attractive and relatively low-risk Energy sector option for many investors. A fortress balance sheet, an attractive and totally safe dividend and a history of returning excess cash to shareholders are some of the other positives in the Exxon story.

The Zacks analyst discusses the pros and cons of investing in Exxon shares in the updated research report issued today. (You can read the full research report on Exxon Mobil here.)

Shares of JPMorgan have gained +24.5% over the past six months vs. +23.9% gain for the Major Banks industry. The company’s first-quarter 2017 earnings easily outpaced expectations driven by impressive investment banking and trading revenue growth as well as lower credit costs.

The Zacks analyst likes the company’s has steady capital deployment activities (dividend hike and share buyback), which reflects its strong balance sheet position. The company remains well positioned to benefit from the improved rate scenario and rising loan demand. Synergies from retail banking performance and cost-containment efforts will help improving its profitability, going forward.

However, a persistent fee income growth challenge remains a major headwind. Also, litigation hassles remain a concern. (You can read the full research report on JPMorgan here.)

Union Pacific shares have rallied 3.8% in the last month, outperforming the Zacks Transportation-Rail industry’s increase of 3.66% in the period. Shares of Union Pacific have also performed better than those of fellow-railroad operator Norfolk Southern, which have gained 2.2% in the same time span.

Union Pacific reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues in the first quarter of 2017. The improvement in coal revenues and the company's 2017 capital plan worth $3.1 billion are other positives. The plan complements the company's efforts to promote safety and enhance productivity. The below-par performance of the automotive unit in the first quarter, however, raises concerns. (You can read the full research report on Union Pacific here.)

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Biogen (BIIB), ADP (ADP) and Becton Dickinson (BDX).

More Stock News: 8 Companies Verge on Apple-Like Run
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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 Trends and Earnings Preview reports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here >>>

Featured Reports

New Upgrades

Garmin (GRMN) Beats Q1 Earnings and Revenues

The Q1 earnings beat apart, the Zacks analyst is positive on Garmin's continued innovation, diversification and market expansion efforts for growth in all business segments.

CNA Financial (CNA) Beats Q1 Earnings Estimates

CNA Financial's first-quarter 2017 earnings beat expectations and improved year over year on higher investment income and solid performance at International and Life and Group Non-Core segments.

New Downgrades