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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, NIKE, Salesforce, Microsoft and Walmart

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – December 11, 2020 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , NIKE Inc. (NKE - Free Report) , salesforce.com.inc. (CRM - Free Report) , Microsoft Corp. (MSFT - Free Report) and Walmart Inc. (WMT - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Blue-Chip Stocks in Focus with More than 20% Returns YTD

Wall Street bulls, which regained momentum in November after two months of market turmoil, strengthened further in December. Expectations of the authorization of a vaccine for COVID-19 by the FDA and Congressional approval for a fresh stimulus this year significantly boosted market participants' confidence.

The Dow — popularly known as the blue-chip index — regained momentum in November despite underperforming its peers the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite for the rest of the year. Notably, five Dow stocks have provided more than 20% returns year to date and still have strong momentum left.

Dow Gains Momentum Since November

So far this year, the Dow is lagging its peers. Although the index has climbed 65.1% from its recent low recorded on Mar 23, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite have jumped 67.6% and 86.1%, respectively, during the period. More importantly, year to date, the Dow is up just 5.4% while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite have surged 13.7% and 37.5%, respectively.

However, the blue-chip index has gathered pace from November. From Nov 2 to Dec 9, the index rallied 13.5% compared with 12.3% gain logged by the S&P 500 and 13.1% rise of the Nasdaq Composite. The Dow reached a landmark 30,000 for the first time in Nov 24. On Dec 9, the index recorded an all-time high of 30,319.70.

At its current level of 29,157.97, the Dow is well above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages of 28,731.65 and 26,265.50, respectively. In financial literature, the 50-day moving average line is generally recognized as the short-term trend setter, while the 200-day moving average is considered a long-term trend setter.

It is widely recognized in the technical analysis space that whenever the 50-day moving average line surges ahead of the 200-day moving average line, a long-term uptrend for the index becomes a strong possibility.

Two Near-Term Positives

First, the FDA authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine this year means that the economy will reopen and gradually operate at the pre-pandemic level. The news will have a strong impact on the stock market. Out of the three major stock indexes, the Dow — more inclined toward cyclical stocks rather than the growth-oriented technology stocks — is likely to benefit the most.

Second, on Dec 8, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin unveiled a $916 billion stimulus proposal, which is slightly higher than a $908-billion aid package proposed by a bipartisan group of senators last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wants to pass a new stimulus excluding legal immunity for businesses or aid for state and local governments. He also agreed to introduce a new unemployment benefit scheme and Paycheck Protection Program small business loans.

5 Blue-Chip Stocks Flying High YTD

We have narrowed down our search to five Dow stocks that have popped more than 20% year to date. These stocks have strong growth potential for both short and long-term (3-5 years). All these stocks carry either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Apple’s Services and Wearables businesses are expected to drive top-line growth in fiscal 2020 and beyond. Although its business primarily runs around its flagship iPhone, the Services portfolio has emerged as the new cash cow. The company's focus on autonomous vehicles and augmented reality/virtual reality technologies presents growth opportunities in the long haul.

The Zacks Rank #3 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 22.3% for the current year (ending September 2021). It has a long-term (3-5 years) growth rate of 11.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 0.3% over the last 90 days. The stock price has soared 65.9% year to date.

NIKE is engaged in the business of designing, developing and marketing athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories, and services for men, women and children worldwide. Despite the volatile macroeconomic and geopolitical environment, NIKE expects to continue investing in key capabilities to aid digital transformation and deliver robust growth in fiscal 2021 (ending May 2021) and beyond.

The Zacks Rank #3 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 76.9% for the current year. Its long-term growth rate is 17.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 0.4% over the last 7 days. The stock price has jumped 37% year to date.

Salesforce is the leading provider of on-demand Customer Relationship Management software, which enables organizations to better manage critical operations such as sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, document management, analytics and custom application development.

The Zacks Rank #3 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 50.8% for the current year (ending January 2021). Its long-term growth rate is 14%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 38.1% over the last 7 days. The stock price has climbed 35.6% year to date.

Microsoft has a dominant position in the desktop PC market, with its operating systems being used in the majority of PCs worldwide. The company has doubled down on the cloud computing opportunity. Moreover, it is one of the three largest providers of gaming hardware.

The Zacks Rank #1 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 17% for the current year (ending June 2021). Its long-term growth rate is 12.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 6.9% over the last 60 days. The stock price has surged 34.3% year to date.

Walmart operates retail stores, restaurants, discount stores, supermarkets, supercenters, hypermarkets, warehouse clubs, apparel stores, Sam’s Clubs, and NeighborhoodMarkets, as well as the websites, walmart.com and samsclub.com.

The Zacks Rank #3 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 12.6% for the current year (ending January 2021). Its long-term growth rate is 5.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 3.7% over the last 30 days. The stock price has advanced 24.8% year to date.

Just Released: Zacks’ 7 Best Stocks for Today

Experts extracted 7 stocks from the list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys that has beaten the market more than 2X over with a stunning average gain of +24.4% per year.

These 7 were selected because of their superior potential for immediate breakout.

See these time-sensitive tickers now >>

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