Today's Must Read
Chevron (CVX) Buoyed by Higher Refining Margins, Cash Flow
Data-Centric Growth, Lower Spending Benefits Intel (INTC)
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
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 Microsoft (MSFT), Chevron (CVX) and Intel (INTC). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Buy-rated Microsoft shares have outperformed the Zacks Technology sector in the year to date period (up +35% versus +25.3%) on greater appreciation for the company's reorganization and repositioning. Microsoft reported impressive first-quarter fiscal 2018 results driven by rapid adoption of Azure and Office 365.
The Zacks analyst thinks these factors will be the key catalysts in the near future, which along with lower spending is anticipated to drive operating margin expansion in fiscal 2018. Additionally, collaborations with the likes of Amazon.com, Red Hat, Symantec, Cray and PAREXEL are positive for the company's growth prospects.
Microsoft’s upcoming console -Xbox One X- has significant growth potential, as evident from the record pre-orders. However, lack of exclusive games on the platform as compared with Sony's PS4 is a concern. At the same time, stabilizing PC shipments bodes well for the company.
Shares of Buy-rated Chevron have risen +7.4% in the past year, underperforming the Zacks International Integrated Oil industry's +10.5%, while larger rival ExxonMobil has gained only +0.3% over the same time period. The second-largest U.S. oil producer beat expectations in the third quarter amid the recovery in commodity prices and robust refining profits.
More importantly, Chevron was able to cover its investment and payouts with cash from operations - something investors really want right now. With crude prices firming and Chevron being one of the most oil-weighted majors, the company's profits got an expected boost. Stronger refining margins also helped increase earnings.
As it is, its current oil and gas development project pipeline is among the best in the industry, boasting large, multi-year projects. Consequently, we think Chevron offers substantial upside potential from the current price levels and view it as a preferred energy play to own now.
Strong Buy-rated Intel shares have gained +22.3% year to date, underperforming the broader Zacks Technology sector as well as the red-hot semiconductors space, which are up +25.3% and +38.6%, respectively. But Intel reported strong third-quarter 2017 results driven by robust performance from the Data Center Group, Internet-of-Things Group, Non-Volatile Memory Solutions and Programmable Solutions Group. These segments form the crux of Intel’s data-centric business model.
Management revised its 2017 outlook based on double-digit growth expectation from data-centric businesses. The Zacks analyst thinks anticipated improvement in cost structure and lower spending, primarily due to improving operational efficiency will aid in expansion of margins.
The launch of Xeon Scalable, Core 8 chips, Myriad X and next-generation desktop processors are key catalysts. The new desktop processors are expected to help Intel's gaming endeavors amid stiff competition from AMD and NVIDIA. Moreover, the Core 8 launch is expected to boost PC market share.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Altria (MO), Biogen (BIIB) and Kinder Morgan (KMI).
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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>>>