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Research Daily

Wednesday, December 12, 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 Walgreens Boots (WBA), Duke Energy (DUK) and Stryker (SYK). 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 >>>

Walgreens Boots’ shares have outperformed the Zacks Drug Stores industry over the past three months, gaining +16.1% vs. +3.5%. The company's Retail Pharmacy USA division witnessed comparable prescription growth and benefited from a strong retail prescription market in the last reported quarter.

Meanwhile, low prescription volume and continuing government reimbursement pressure in the United Kingdom, have been leading to sluggishness in Retail Pharmacy International division. However, the Zacks analyst likes solid pharmacy sales growth which reflects synergies from Rite Aid store additions.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, with Express Scripts and Kroger, which aims to expand its existing group purchasing efforts and product offerings is a major positive. The launch of its next-day prescription delivery service with FedEx buoys optimism. Yet, the ongoing generic drug inflation is hurting Walgreens' pharmacy margins. Walgreens Boots faces tough competition along with currency fluctuations.

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

Shares of Buy-ranked Duke Energy have outperformed the Zacks Electric Power industry in the past year, gaining +3.7% vs +0.5%. Duke Energy invests heavily in infrastructure and expansion projects. It boasts a robust five-year capital plan and currently looks forward to invest about $48.2 billion in its overall growth projects in the 2018-2022 time frame.

The Zacks analyst thinks this investment plan will drive earnings base growth in the company’s combined electric and gas businesses of approximately 6% over the next five years. It is also looking to invest heavily in cleaner power, natural gas infrastructure and the energy grid during the next 10 years.

In particular, Duke Energy will invest $11 billion to generate cleaner energy through renewables and natural gas as it moves to a low-carbon future. However, Duke Energy faces challenges from severe weather conditions and natural calamities, which may result in breaking down and damaging its infrastructure.

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

Buy-ranked Stryker’s shares have gained +12% in the past year, outperforming the Zacks Medical Products industry, which has increased +1.4% over the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks that the company continues to gain from its Mako robotics platform, which has been the key driver of its core Orthopaedic segment.

In fact, the company witnessed solid growth in Mako robot installations in recent times. Surging domestic sales is another positive. Moreover, solid performance in emerging markets and Europe paints a bright picture. Solid expansion in operating margin is encouraging as well. Raised guidance for 2018 buoys optimism.

On the flip side, Stryker’s gross margin has been declining. Total debt on the balance sheet remains unchanged, adding to the company’s woes. The Trauma & Extremities business had moderate growth lately as it was affected by softness in the market and product supply issues. Stiff competition in the MedTech space is likely to mar Stryker’s prospects.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Waste Management (WM), Kinder Morgan (KMI) and PepsiCo (PEP).

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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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