Today's Must Read
Expanding User Base, Instagram Strength Aids Facebook (FB)
New Drugs Drive Novartis (NVS) Amid Pipeline Setbacks
Friday, January 31, 2020
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 Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB) and Novartis (NVS). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.
Microsoft’s shares have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past year (+68.1% vs. +20.4%) and the Zacks analyst expects the momentum continuing on the back of the company's robust Commercial business and Azure’s expanding customer base.
The company is gaining from growing user base of its different applications like Office 365, Dynamics, Outlook mobile and Teams. Further, acquisitions like PlayFab and GitHub expand Microsoft’s total addressable market (TAM) and penetration. Additionally, latest contract wins from the Department of Defense remain notable.
However, declining console sales are likely to weigh on gaming revenues. Moreover, increasing expenditure on product development amid stiff competition from the likes of Google, Apple, and Sony is likely to limit margin expansion.
Shares of Facebook have lagged the broader market and the peer group over the last six months, with regulatory uncertainty and incresaed expenses to comply with new regulations clouding the outlook. On the positive side, company has benefited from solid growth in Instagram Stories and Feed, and Facebook News Feed. Moreover, strong sales of Oculus Quest drove payment revenues.
Facebook’s fourth-quarter 2019 results were driven by continued user growth across all regions. Asia-Pacific remained its fastest growing region, driven by growth in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.Moreover, strong sales of Oculus Quest drove payment revenues.
However, Facebook expects top-line growth to slow down due to increasing limitations in tracking user activity amid growing privacy-related regulations, changes made in mobile operating systems and browser platforms by Apple and Google and its own tools like the Off Facebook Activity controls. Moreover, a persistent mix shift toward Stories is anticipated to hurt ARPU. Also, rising regulatory headwinds are concerning.
Novartis’ shares have gained +9.5% over the past three months against the Zacks Large-Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's rise of +7.3%. The Zacks analyst believes that sales were up year over year, driven by the solid performance of key drugs like Cosentyx and Entresto, and contribution from gene therapy, Zolgensma.
The guidance for 2020 was encouraging as well. New launches like Piqray and Beovu should further boost the company’s performance. However, price erosion in the United States has adversely impacted the generic business. Recently, Novartis has restructured its business and spun off the eye-care unit, Alcon, to become a core drug-focused company. However, pipeline setbacks and generic competition for key drugs are concerning.
Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Tesla (TSLA), ServiceNow (NOW) and Raytheon (RTN).
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Director of Research
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>>>