Today's Must Read
Berkshire (BRK.B) Set to Grow on Solid Insurance Business
Global Business Aids Thermo Fisher (TMO) Amid Rising Costs
Thursday, March 7, 2019
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 Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) and Thermo Fisher (TMO). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Amazon’s shares have outperformed the broader market in the past year (the stock is up +7.5% vs. the +1.4% increase for the S&P 500 as a whole). The Zacks analyst thinks Amazon continues to ride on its ecommerce dominance. Its aggressive retail strategies, distribution strength and robust Prime remain the key catalysts.
Rapid adoption of Prime owing to its customer benefits and strengthening grocery services is driving its top-line growth. Further, the company’s growing brick and mortar presence is a tailwind. Additionally, Amazon’s continued momentum in AWS remains a major positive.
Increasing AWS regions and its growing adoption will continue to aid Amazon’s cloud momentum. Also, improving Alexa features and the growing number of device compatible with it are expected to aid the company’s momentum in the virtual assistant market.
However, first-quarter 2019 revenue guidance remains disappointing. Rising cloud competition from the likes of Microsoft Azure and Google cloud is a significant headwind. Also, heavy investment in fulfillment centers is a concern.
Shares of Strong Buy-ranked Berkshire Hathaway’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Insurance - Property and Casualty industry over the past year (-2.3% vs. -3.3%). Berkshire reported fourth quarter earnings of $5.7 billion, up 71.4% year over year on solid results across all segments. The Zacks analyst thinks the company is poised for growth over the longer-term banking on its sturdy insurance business. Its property and casualty insurance business generate maximum return on equity.
The company’s inorganic growth story remains impressive with strategic acquisitions. A strong cash position allows it to make earnings-accretive bolt-on buyouts. Demand for utilities is expected to rise in the future and drive earnings growth. Continued insurance business growth also fuels increase in float. A sturdy capital level provides further impetus.
However, its exposure to catastrophe loss remains a worry. Huge capital expenses due to railroad operations pose concerns. Capital expenditure is estimated to be $10.5 billion in 2019.
Thermo Fisher’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Medical Instruments industry in the past three months (+6% vs. +4.4%). Thermo Fisher ended the fourth quarter 2018 on a promising note, showing strength in all end markets categorized either by customer type or geography.
The company particularly registered solid international performance with strong growth in Asia-Pacific including China. Also, a series of product launches with progress in precision medicine initiatives aided its performance. The Zacks analyst is currently looking forward to the company’s recent purchases of Advanced Bioprocessing business from BD and its initiative to buy Gatan to boost electron microscopy suite.
Even after considering the impact of the company’s impending divestiture of its Anatomical Pathology business, the 2019 guidance looks pretty encouraging. On the flip side, Thermo Fisher’s business segments are getting impacted by unfavorable business mix. Also, competitive headwinds and escalating costs pose a threat.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX), Square (SQ) and Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG).
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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>>>