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Research Daily

Thursday, April 5, 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 Mastercard (MA), Petrobras (PBR) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA). 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 >>>

Buy-rated Mastercard’s shares have increased 54.5% over the last year, significantly outperforming the Zacks Financial Transaction Services industry’s gain of 33.2% during the same period. The Zacks analyst likes its solid market position, ongoing expansion and digital initiatives.

Also, there are 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.

The stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised upward over the last 60 days. It, however, continues to face increasing costs. Also, higher incentives and rewards will put pressure on the bottom line.

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

Shares of Petrobras have outperformed the Zacks Emerging Markets Integrated Oil industry over the last three months, gaining +21.5% vs. +11.7%. Adding to the bullishness, Brazil's flagship oil company reported robust fourth quarter results. While its strong free cash flow performance reflects operational improvement and lower investments, Petrobras has been able to partly revive its financial health through divestments and spin offs.

The company's ambitious plan to boost volumes by 27% through 2022 also looks achievable considering its impressive pre-salt reservoirs portfolio. However, Petrobras still carries a massive net debt of $85 billion, with net debt-to-capitalization ratio of 51%. Weak oil products sales volume in Brazil and lower margins at its downstream unit are other headwinds. As such, the Zacks analyst maintains a cautious stance on the stock.

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

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s shares have done better than the embattled Zacks Drug Stores industry over the last year (WBA is down -10.5% vs. decline of -13.4% for the peer group). Walgreens Boots reported better-than-expected second quarter fiscal 2018 results. This time the company witnessed its highest sales in the last eight quarters.

The Zacks analyst likes Walgreens Boots' increase in sales at the Retail Pharmacy International. Moreover, the company has been gaining on account of strategic tie-ups. The company’s alliance with Express Scripts aiming to expand their existing group purchasing efforts is another positive.

This apart, the company’s decision to acquire a 40% stake in Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores in China looks promising as it should provide a strong impetus to Walgreens Boots’ worldwide retail pharmacy business. However, declining Retail Pharmacy sales at CER was a disappointment. The company faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations.

(You can read the full research report on Walgreens Boots Alliance here >>>).

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Kimberly Clark (KMB), Microchip (MCHP) and Carnival (CCL).

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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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