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Research Daily

Tuesday, March 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 UnitedHealth (UNH), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Anheuser-Busch (BUD). 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 >>>

UnitedHealth’s shares have marginally underperformed the Zacks Medical Insurance industry in the last one year (up +34.2% vs. +34.5%). The Zacks analyst likes the company’s robust Government business and continued strong growth at Optum. Its international business and strong capital position that allows for business investment are other positives.

It has been witnessing an increase in membership over many years. The company raised its 2018 earnings guidance led by tax reform upside. The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 15.4% upward over the last 90 days. Nevertheless, membership loss in its fee based commercial business and Brazilian business will pull down overall membership growth.

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

Shares of Morgan Stanley have outperformed the Zacks Investment Banking industry over the last three months (+7.7% vs. +6.1%), supported by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters.

The Zacks analyst likes the company’s efforts to lower balance sheet risk, strengthen wealth management operations along with its cost saving initiatives. Further, lower tax rates will aid profitability in the quarters ahead. However, persistent fall in net interest income (despite rising interest rates) remains a concern. Also, overall trading weakness is expected to hurt the company’s top line growth in the near-term.

(You can read the full research report on Morgan Stanley here >>>).

Anheuser-Busch’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Alcoholic Beverages industry over the last three months, gaining +0.8% vs. an increase of +2.2%. However, both top and bottom line outpaced estimates and improved year over year in the fourth quarter. In fact, the quarter marked earnings beat after seven consecutive negative surprises while revenues surpassed estimates after two straight misses.

The Zacks analyst likes its robust brand portfolio and solid geographical reach. The company keeps introducing near beer alternatives along with no- and low-alcohol beers to resonate with changing demand. Further, SABMiller’s buyout has enhanced its position in the global beer market.

Though the company anticipates delivering strong top-line growth for 2018, backed by solid brands performance and robust commercial plans, it sees volatility in certain key markets. Moreover, it envisions a soft first quarter, owing to difficult comparisons, and phasing of marketing and sales initiatives.

(You can read the full research report on Anheuser-Busch here >>>).

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Cigna (CI), MetLife (MET) and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG).

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Mark Vickery

Senior Editor

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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