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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ONEOK, Valero Energy, EOG Resources, ConocoPhillips and Cincinnati Financial

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 16, 2021 – 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: ONEOK, Inc. (OKE - Free Report) , Valero Energy Corporation (VLO - Free Report) , EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG - Free Report) , ConocoPhillips (COP - Free Report) and Cincinnati Financial Corporation (CINF - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Buy 5 Large-Cap Stocks at Deep Discounts for Spectacular Returns

The new bull market of Wall Street, which commenced in April 2020 after exiting the coronavirus-induced shortest bear market, is continuing in 2021. Early trends in 2021 indicate that the rally will continue in the near term.

Year to date, the large-cap specific indexes such as the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are up 2.7%, 4.3% and 8.8%, respectively. The small-cap centric Russell 2000 has rallied 15.7% and mid-cap specific S&P 400 has jumped 9.9% so far this year.

At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank that are currently trading at attractive valuations. Discounted stock price and a favorable Zacks Rank will be the right combination to strengthen one's portfolio in the near future.

Momentum Likely to Continue

The U.S. government has ramped up nationwide COVID-19 vaccine deployment. Notably, the Biden administration has targeted administering at least 100 million doses of vaccine during its first 100 days in office. Reopening of the economy with the easing of the pandemic will significantly ramp up business activities.

The Democrats are moving forward with President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package. The proposed plan will include increasing direct payments to $2,000 from the existing $600 and supplemental unemployment benefits to $400 per week through September. The proposal also mentions that the minimum wage rate would be hiked to $15 per hour.

The injection of the fresh trench of coronavirus-aid package will help in realizing the pent-up demand of  American consumers thereby boosting the GDP.

Moreover, the Fed has decided to keep the benchmark interest rate as low as 0-0.25% and to pursue quantitative easing policy buying of at least $120 billion of bonds ($80 billion of Treasury bonds and $40 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities) per month until the economy returns to normalcy. This would ensure sufficient liquidity until substantial progress is made toward achieving maximum employment and price stability goals.

On Feb 1, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the U.S. economy will expand 4.6% in 2021 after contracting 3.5% last year. The economy is expected to reach the pre-pandemic level of February 2020 by mid-2021, much earlier than what was projected in July. In its latest projection, the Atlanta Fed estimated that the U.S. GDP will grow 4.5% in first-quarter 2021.

Our Top Picks

We have narrowed down our search to five stocks based on four criteria. First, we have selected large-cap stocks (market capital > $10 billion) as these companies have a well-established business model and strong brand value. Second, these stocks are currently trading at a deep discount from their 52-week highs.

Third, all these stocks have strong growth potential for 2021 and witnessed robust earnings estimation revisions within last 30 days. Fourth, each of our picks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

ONEOK is engaged in the gathering, processing, storage and transportation of natural gas in the United States. It operates through the Natural Gas Gathering and Processing, Natural Gas Liquids, and Natural Gas Pipelines segments.

The company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 4.3% over the last 7 days. The stock price is currently trading at a discount of 43.6% from its 52-week high price of $78.48.

Valero Energy operates as an independent petroleum refining and ethanol producing company in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and internationally. It operates through three segments: Refining, Ethanol, and VLP (Valero Energy Partners LP).

The company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved more than 100% over the last 30 days. The stock price is currently trading at a discount of 24.1% from its 52-week high price of $85.05.

EOG Resources explores, develops, produces and markets crude oil, and natural gas and natural gas liquids. The company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 1.8% over the last 30 days. The stock price is currently trading at a discount of 23.2% from its 52-week high price of $77.67.

ConocoPhillips produces transports and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids worldwide. The company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current-year earnings has improved 63.8% over the last 30 days. The stock price is currently trading at a discount of 22% from its 52-week high price of $59.55.

Cincinnati Financial provides property casualty insurance products in the United States. It operates in five segments: Commercial Lines Insurance, Personal Lines Insurance, Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance, Life Insurance, and Investments.

The company has an expected earnings growth rate of 16.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current-year earnings has improved 1.3% over the last 30 days. The stock price is currently trading at a discount of 20.9% from its 52-week high price of $115.53.

Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2021

In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 best buy-and-hold tickers for the entirety of 2021?

Last year's 2020 Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolio returned gains as high as +386.8%. Now a brand-new portfolio has been handpicked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. Don't miss your chance to get in on these long-term buys.

Access Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2021 today >>

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.