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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Kraft Heinz's, Merck, BlackRock, Apple and Alibaba

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 17, 2016 – 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 Kraft Heinz's (NASDAQ:(KHC - Free Report) –Free Report), Merck (NYSE:(MRK - Free Report) –Free Report), BlackRock (NYSE:(BLK - Free Report) –Free Report), Apple (NASDAQ:(AAPL - Free Report) –Free Report) and Alibaba (NYSE:(BABA - Free Report) – Free Report).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Apple, Merck, BlackRock and Kraft Heinz

Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Kraft Heinz's (NASDAQ:(KHC - Free Report) –Free Report), Merck (NYSE:(MRK - Free Report) –Free Report), BlackRock (NYSE:(BLK - Free Report) –Free Report) and Apple (NASDAQ:(AAPL - Free Report) – Free Report).

Strong Buy rated Kraft Heinz shares have handily beat the consumer staples sector as well as the broad market (the stock is up more than 19% year-to-date), reflecting the market's appreciation for the company’s cost-saving initiatives including the integration of Kraft Foods and Heinz. Cost savings have led to better margins, mainly in the developed markets of the U.S. and Europe. The company is also working for whitespace expansion of the Kraft and Heinz brands in both food services as well as international channels. (You can read the full research report on Kraft Heinz here>>)

Buy rated Merck shares continue to shine despite the macro headwinds facing the broader pharmaceutical space given politically-inspired pricing uncertainty (the stock is up more than 18% year-to-date), reflecting the company's efforts to expand its pipeline and focus on core areas of expertise. Estimates for the September quarter have remained stable lately, but they are steadily going up for next. Merck has also been pursuing acquisitions and business development deals to boost its pipeline. Merck will also continue to look toward cost-cutting initiatives to drive the bottom-line. (You can read the full research report on Merck here>>)

BlackRock shares have lagged the broader market, but outperformed both the asset management industry as well as the Finance sector. Buy-rated BlackRock's dominant ETF franchise stands out. But it has a fairly diversified mix of businesses beyond ETFs, ranging from one of the largest fixed income platforms to significant presence in equities, alternative assets and cash products. Opportunities in international markets add to the company's long-term attractiveness. (You canread the full research report on BlackRock here>> )

Apple shares struggled earlier in the year on the company's long-term growth prospects as well as China uncertainties. But those worries appear to have faded lately, helping the stock handily beat the broader Tech sector over the last three months. While headlines about the Irish tax issue aren't helpful, but sentiment about China appears to have stabilized and the company is expected to benefit from the upgrade cycle initiated with the launch of the iPhone7 even in mature markets. (You can read the full research report on Apple here>>)

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Alibaba (NYSE:(BABA - Free Report) – Free Report).

You can find all of today's stock research reports here>>

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1 Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News

Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.

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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 for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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