Today's Must Read
TOTAL (TOT) to Gain from New Projects, Cost Reduction Plans
Marriott (MAR) Continues to Benefit From Starwood Buyout
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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 Amgen (AMGN), TOTAL S.A. (TOT) and Marriott (MAR). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Amgen’s shares have gained +6% over the past one year, outperforming the Zacks Biomedical and Genetics industry, which has declined -1.9% over the same period. Amgen had a rather poor quarter as it missed expectations for both earnings and sales and also issued lower-than-expected sales guidance for 2018.
The Zacks analyst likes Amgen’s newer drugs – Prolia, Xgeva, Kyprolis – which are performing well. Amgen is also progressing with its pipeline and expects approval and launch of migraine candidate, Aimovig this year. However, Amgen has some challenges in store, given slowdown in sales of mature drugs like Enbrel, Aranesp and Neulasta, which are facing an array of branded and generic competitors. Volume growth of new drugs may not be enough to offset the lost sales due to the decline in mature brands.
While Neupogen is already facing U.S. biosimilar competition, Neulasta, Epogen and Sensipar could start facing the same this year. Meanwhile, uptake of key new drug Repatha has been slow due to payer restrictions.
Shares of TOTAL S.A. have gained +10% over the last one year, outperforming the Zacks Integrated International Oil industry which has increased +6.8% over the same period. Fourth-quarter earnings of the company were better than expected due to higher oil production and improvement in commodity prices.
Going forward, the company will benefit further from upstream startups and cost management initiatives. It continues to gain from strategic acquisitions and asset divestures, which will further strengthen the portfolio. The company is utilizing its strong cash flow generating capacity to strengthen its balance sheet, pay dividend and buy back shares.
However, operations in some politically troubled regions and increasing competition could impact the company’s profitability. Due to its global presence, it is also exposed to risks associated with doing business abroad.
Buy-rated Marriott’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Hotels industry over the last one year. (the stock is up +57.4% vs. +39.1% gain for the industry). Marriott’s fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings beat expectations and rose 31.8% year over year.
The company is poised to grow on the back of the Starwood acquisition, arresting brand position, an increased demand for travel and significant international exposure. With this acquisition, Marriott became the world's largest hotel company. In fact, this buyout is likely to result in a bigger brand with increased scale and a robust development pipeline in the long run.
The Zacks analyst likes Marriott’s rising North-American business, sizeable international exposure and attractive brand-position. Yet, lingering political uncertainties in key international markets and currency headwinds might continue to limit revenue growth. Moreover, integration risks linked to Starwood purchase is an added concern.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Consolidated Edison (ED), PG&E (PCG) and Vertex (VRTX).
Can Hackers Put Money INTO Your Portfolio?
Earlier this month, credit bureau Equifax announced a massive data breach affecting 2 out of every 3 Americans. The cybersecurity industry is expanding quickly in response to this and similar events. But some stocks are better investments than others.
Zacks has just released Cybersecurity! An Investor’s Guide to help Zacks.com readers make the most of the $170 billion per year investment opportunity created by hackers and other threats. It reveals 4 stocks worth looking into right away.
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>>>