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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Home Depot, TOTAL, Pepsi, Merck, Target and Electronic Arts

HD TOT PEP MRK TGT EA

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – November 18, 2016 – 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 Home Depot (NYSE:(HD - Free Report) – Free Report), TOTAL (NYSE:(TOT - Free Report) – Free Report), Pepsi (NYSE:(PEP - Free Report) – Free Report), Merck (NYSE:(MRK - Free Report) –Free Report),Target (NYSE:(TGT - Free Report) –Free Report) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:(EA - Free Report) – Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Today: HD, TOT, PEP

Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Home Depot (NYSE:(HD - Free Report) –Free Report), TOTAL (NYSE:(TOT - Free Report) –Free Report) and Pepsi (NYSE:(PEP - Free Report) – Free Report).

Home Depot ’s shares have struggled this year. The company reported better-than-expected top and bottom-line results for third-quarter fiscal 2016. The analyst likes Home Depot’s focus on developing merchandising tools, which, along with investment in building its interconnected capabilities is expected to boost its top line, and enhance market share. The company is on track to achieve its long-term dividend payout, share repurchase and return on investment targets. However, intense competition and a soft economic recovery may prove deterrents, pushing back home improvement projects. (You canread the full research report on Home Depot here .)

TOTAL ’s shares have shown significant weakness recently. The company reported mixed results for the third quarter of 2016. However, the analyst likes the manner in which TOTAL has successfully lowered operating expenses as per management’s plans. Going forward, the company will continue to benefit from its upstream startups and cost management initiatives. Strategic acquisitions and asset divestures will strengthen its portfolio. TOTAL’s initiatives to increase clean energy assets through acquisitions will diversify its operations. Meanwhile, fluctuating commodity prices, operations in some politically troubled regions and increasing competition could impact the company’s profitability. (You can read the full research report on TOTAL here.)

Buy rated Pepsi shares have performed poorly this year. But the analyst emphasizes that Pepsi has been doing well on the back of significant innovation, continued momentum in Frito-Lay business, revenue management strategies, improved productivity and better market execution. Moreover, Pepsi has been seeing higher volumes and profits in the North American segments due to an improving economy, better industry pricing dynamics and a consistency in positive innovation. Pepsi’ new product lineup, aggressive marketing efforts, productivity improvement and cost-saving initiatives should drive profits. (You can read the full research report on Pepsihere .)

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Merck (NYSE:(MRK - Free Report) –Free Report), Target (NYSE:(TGT - Free Report) – Free Report) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:(EA - Free Report) – Free Report).

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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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