Today's Must Read
Steady Demand Buoys American Tower (AMT), Debt Woes Linger
Loan Growth Supports U.S. Bancorp (USB), Higher Costs a Woe
Friday, May 17, 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 Walmart (WMT), American Tower (AMT) and U.S. Bancorp (USB). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Walmart’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Supermarkets industry in the past year (+20.1% vs. +18.9%), backed by focus on strengthening e-commerce and store operations. The Zacks analyst thinks these factors aided the company retain sturdy comps trend in first-quarter fiscal 2019, wherein earnings marked its fifth straight beat.
Further, U.S. comps rose for the 19th straight time. E-commerce sales surged on robust Walmart.com and online grocery performances. Encouragingly, e-commerce sales are expected to rise nearly 35% in fiscal 2020. The company is also making efforts to improve its International unit by shifting focus to profitable countries.
However, the addition of Flipkart was a drag on Walmart’s operating income. Moreover, transportation costs, compelling pricing strategy and tariff-related worries are threats to margins. Nonetheless, the Flipkart deal bodes well for the long term.
Shares of American Tower have outperformed the Zacks REIT and Equity Trust industry in the past three months (+13% vs. +4.4%). The company’s first-quarter 2019 results were marred by year-over-year decline in revenues from the service segment and lower cash from operations.
However, the Zacks analyst thinks higher use of mobile data is fueling demand for space on the company’s telecom towers. This is expected to enable American Tower to experience splendid leasing activity and organic tenant billings growth in the upcoming quarters. With higher investments in 4G and the upcoming 5G technology, wireless carriers will densify their respective network.
Hence, the company is strengthening its portfolio and focusing on innovation to capture underlying opportunities. Yet, it has a substantially leveraged balance sheet. However, the accelerated Indian carrier consolidation-driven churn and high customer concentration are risks.
U.S. Bancorp’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Major Banks industry over the past six months, losing -6.7% vs -3%. Yet, the company possesses an impressive earnings surprise history, having beaten expectations in three of the trailing four quarters.
First-quarter results reflect top-line strength and higher loans, partially offset by elevated expenses. The Zacks analyst thinks U.S. Bancorp will likely get support from its solid business model, core franchise, lower tax rate, higher interest rates and diverse revenue streams.
Also, its capital deployment activities continue to enhance shareholder value. However, escalating expenses due to ongoing investments in technology and likely increase in legal expenses remain concerns. Also, significant exposure to commercial loans remains a headwind.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Humana (HUM), Sempra Energy (SRE) and Royal Caribbean (RCL).
Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2019
In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-holds for the year?
Who wouldn't? Our annual Top 10s have beaten the market with amazing regularity. In 2018, while the market dropped -5.2%, the portfolio scored well into double-digits overall with individual stocks rising as high as +61.5%. And from 2012-2017, while the market boomed +126.3, Zacks' Top 10s reached an even more sensational +181.9%.
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>>>