Today's Must Read
Strong Aviation Segment Drives General Electric's (GE) Sales
Schlumberger (SLB) to Grow on Onshore Fracking Activity
Wednesday, April 25, 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 Alphabet (GOOGL), General Electric (GE) and Schlumberger (SLB). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Alphabet’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Internet Services industry in the last year (the stock is up +15% vs. -0.5% decline for the industry). Alphabet delivered strong first-quarter earnings on robust cloud, hardware and Play revenues.
The Zacks analyst likes the company's focus on innovation, AI, cloud, home automation space, strategic acquisitions and Android OS. These factors should continue to generate strong cash flows. Alphabet has shown good execution to date, more or less maintaining its dominant share in a competitive, fast-growing search market. Its diversification strategy is also positive, but requires significant investment and involves uncertain payback periods, particularly since these efforts are at the cutting edge of technology.
However, the company's increased spending on its consumer gadgets, YouTube video app and cloud computing services remain concerns. Also, increasing litigation issues could continue to impact the company’s profits.
Shares of General Electric have underperformed the S&P 500 index in the year-to-date period (-15.9% vs. -1.6%). However, General Electric’s first-quarter 2018 earnings trumped expectations by 45.5%. The impressive performance can primarily be attributed to Aviation and Healthcare businesses’ strong operational results. Also, the company’s stringent cost-cutting initiatives drove profits.
Moving ahead, the company is expected to benefit from growth in emerging markets like India and China. Furthermore, General Electric’s strong free cash flow allows it to invest in product innovations, acquisitions and business development, which auger well on a long-term perspective.
However, GE Power has been a significant drag on the company’s margins, due to lower demand of turbines. Earlier, the company had also halved its dividend to 12 cents per share — the first dividend cut since 2009 at the peak of the recession.
Schlumberger’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Oil and Gas - Field Services industry over the past three months, losing -12.1% vs -8.2%. Schlumberger is the largest oilfield services player in the world with presence in every energy market across the world. The Zacks analyst likes the company’s strong emphasis on returning cash to shareholders through a higher dividend yield than the industry over the last 10 years.
Also, Schlumberger will likely gain from heightened hydraulic fracturing work in the U.S. land market, especially through the second quarter of 2018. The company’s first-quarter 2018 earnings improved year over year, thanks to the rise in North American directional land drilling operations. That said, we are concerned about the escalating project startup costs.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Constellation Brands (STZ), American Express (AXP) and SAP (SAP).
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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>>>