Today's Must Read
Interest Income to Brace BofA (BAC), Mortgage Fee a Concern
Strong Global Business, Accretive Deals Aid Mastercard (MA)
Wednesday, November 8, 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 ExxonMobil (XOM), Bank of America (BAC) and Mastercard (MA). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Strong Buy-rated ExxonMobil’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Oil International Integrated industry (-7.4% vs. +5.7%) in the year to date period as well as peer Chevron (CVX was down -0.4%). However, ExxonMobil has a leading position in the energy industry owing to the size and diversity of its asset base, both in terms of business mix and geographical footprint.
The Zacks analyst likes its stable cash position and the company’s balance sheet is one of the best in the industry, reflecting declining debt load over the first nine months of 2017. The company has been investing heavily in its extensive refining businesses, which will likely help it counter volatile upstream businesses.
In fact, higher margins from the lucrative refinery operations primarily supported ExxonMobil’s strong third-quarter 2017 results. Increased price realizations from liquids and natural gas also drove the Q3 numbers. Moreover, ExxonMobil’s decision to invest in the pre-salt Carcara oil field is commendable as the company expects it to contain as much as 2 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable oil reserves.
Shares of Bank of America have outperformed the Zacks Major Regional Banks industry over the last six months, gaining +13.3% vs. +9%. This price performance is backed by impressive earnings surprise history as the company has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters.
The company’s third-quarter 2017 results were driven by higher net interest income, a fall in operating expenses and decline in credit costs. Rising interest rates, increase in loan and deposit balances along with initiatives to strengthen its balance sheet is expected to continue supporting profitability.
The bank’s efforts to streamline and simplify operations will support its overall growth. However, muted fee income growth remains a key concern. Fall in mortgage banking income due to lower volumes and a decline in refinancing activity along with uncertainty related to performance of capital markets is worrying.
Mastercard’s shares have gained +45.2% year to date, outperforming the Zacks Financial Transaction Services industry which has gained +34.5% over the same period. Its third-quarter 2017 earnings surpassed expectations, mainly driven by strong transaction, higher cross border volumes and gains from acquisitions.
The Zacks analyst likes Mastercard’s solid market position, ongoing expansion and digital initiatives, and significant opportunities from the secular shift toward electronic payments. The acquisitions of VocaLink and NuData Security complement the company’s efforts to participate in new payment flows and enhance its safety and security offerings.
However, it continues to face increasing costs, a volatile forex environment and legal issues. Also, higher incentives and rewards will put pressure on the bottom line.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) and Interactive Brokers (IBKR).
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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>>>