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Research Daily

Sheraz Mian

Q4 Earnings Season Scorecard and Research Reports for Comcast, Thermo Fisher & Others


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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

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 Comcast (CMCSA), Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) and Philip Morris International (PM). 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 >>>

Q4 Earnings Season Scorecard

For the 202 S&P 500 members or 40.4% of the index's membership that have reported Q4 results are down -1.7% from the same period last year on -1.8% lower revenues, with 80.2% beating EPS estimates and 77.2% beating revenue estimates. This is better results than we have seen from this group of companies in the first three quarters of 2020.

The overall earnings outlook continues to improve, with estimates for the current period (2021 Q1) and the full year steadily going up. 

Comcast shares have outperformed the Zacks Cable Television industry over the past year (+17.5% vs. +11.1%). The Zacks analyst believes that Comcast is experiencing weakness in hospitality and advertising. The company expects Sky’s first quarter revenues to decline slightly year-over-year.

Weakness in film business is also a headwind. Moreover, the balance sheet remains significantly leveraged, which is a concern. Furthermore, Comcast has persistently suffered video-subscriber attrition due to cord-cutting.

However, its fourth-quarter 2020 results were driven by solid growth in high-speed Internet, Business Services, Wireless and advertising segments. Coronavirus has been a tailwind to Comcast’s broadband and wireless businesses. The growth in advertising revenues reflected an increase in political advertising revenues.

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

Shares of Thermo Fisher have gained +23% in the last six months against the Zacks Medical Instruments industry’s gain of +7.3%. The Zacks analyst believes that Thermo Fisher has been expanding inorganic growth profile with several takeovers including Advanced Bioprocessing buyout from BD and Patheon.

In terms of end market, pharma and biotech registered growth in the fourth quarter of 2020 on the back of robust performance in bioproduction and pharma services. In diagnostics and healthcare, the company experienced exceptionally high demand for COVID-19 testing.

Also, the company’s strong capital structure is encouraging. However, the coronavirus outbreak has massively disrupted the global supply chain. Foreign currency fluctuations and competitive landscape are major downsides.

(You can read the full research report on Thermo Fisher here >>>)

Philip Morris shares have gained +10.1% over the past three months against the Zacks Tobacco industry’s rise of +10.6%. The Zacks analyst believes that the company has long been benefiting from its pricing power, which continued to aid its third-quarter 2020 results.

Also, management raised its earnings guidance for 2020 on the back of improved shipment volume trends, though the latter is still expected to decline. However, the management does not expect a near-term recovery in the duty-free business due to travel-related uncertainties amid the pandemic.

Also, a delay in minimum price enforcement in Indonesia is a concern. This apart, cigarette volumes have been soft for a while due to rising health consciousness and stern regulations. All said, revenues are likely to fall in 2020. Nonetheless, strength in RRPs, especially IQOS, is expected to offer respite.

(You can read the full research report on Philip Morris here >>>)

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include McDonald's (MCD), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Zoom Video (ZM).

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

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