Today's Must Read
Walmart's (WMT) Sales to Gain on Robust Ecommerce Business
Strong Service and Benefit Business Aids UnitedHealth (UNH)
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
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 Amazon.com (AMZN), Walmart (WMT) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Amazon shares have outperformed the broader market in the year to date period (+73.5% vs. +16.6%) on the back of solid Prime momentum and leadership in the cloud computing space.
Further, coronavirus-led spike in online orders continues to be a major tailwind. Also, solid growth in its online stores sales remains a positive. Moreover, surge in online grocery shopping is another positive. Additionally, strong adoption rate of AWS is aiding the company’s cloud dominance.
Moreover, expanding AWS services portfolio is continuously helping Amazon in gaining further momentum among the customers. Further, improving Alexa skills and expanding smart home products portfolio are positives. However, accelerating coronavirus related expenses remain risks for the company’s margin expansion in the near term. Also, rising cloud competition poses risk.
Shares of Walmart have gained +22.6% over the past year against the Zacks Supermarkets industry’s gain of +20.9%. The Zacks analyst believes that the company is gaining on rising demand for grocery and general merchandise amid the pandemic.
Stay-at-home trends are also boosting e-commerce sales, which soared 79% in the U.S. segment in third-quarter fiscal 2021. During the quarter, the top and bottom lines beat the estimates and grew year over year, with U.S. comp sales rising for the 25th straight time. Comps were fueled by strength in core categories and higher shift toward e-commerce.
Clearly, Walmart’s efforts to enhance deliveries are yielding results. Also, the company is focused on improving the International unit’s performance, evident from its recent plans to sell certain businesses. However, the company is seeing high COVID-19 costs, which are likely to prevail. Also, price investments are hurting gross margin to an extent.
UnitedHealth’s shares have gained +12.9% over the past six months against the Zacks Medical Insurance industry’s rise of +10.2%. The Zacks analyst believes that expansion of the company’s health services segment provides significant diversification benefits.
UnitedHealth remains well poised to benefit from its government business, comprising both Medicaid and Medicare Advantage. A solid balance sheet and consistent cash flow generation not only encourage investments in business but also add shareholder value. Raising of 2020 earnings guidance instills investor confidence.
However, the company is witnessing a slowdown in its international operations. Increased joblessness stemming from the COVID-19 induced volatilities might hurt Commercial membership.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Intel (INTC), Morgan Stanley (MS) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
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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 Preview reports. If you want an email notification each time Sheraz publishes a new article, please click here>>>