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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: IBM, Abbott, Dow Chemical, Delta Air Lines and Exelon

IBM ABT DOW DAL EXC

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 21, 2017 – 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 IBM (NYSE: (IBM - Free Report) Free Report ), Abbott (NYSE: (ABT - Free Report) Free Report ), Dow Chemical (NYSE: (DOW - Free Report) Free Report ), Delta Air Lines (NYSE: (DAL - Free Report) Free Report ) and Exelon (NYSE: (EXC - 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:

Q1 Earnings and Research Reports for Friday

The Zacks Research Daily features the best research output of our analyst team. In today’s write-up, we are featuring analyst reports on 16 major stocks, including reports on IBM (NYSE: (IBM - Free Report) Free Report ), Abbott (NYSE:(ABT - Free Report) Free Report ) and Dow Chemical (NYSE: (DOW - Free Report) Free Report ). These reports have been hand-picked from amongst the 70 or so stock research reports published by our analyst team today. You can see all of today’s research reports here >>

In addition to these stock research reports, we are also giving you a real-time scorecard of the ongoing Q1 earnings season. You can read more about our views about this earnings season in the weekly Earnings Trends report >>> Q1 Earnings Season Off to a Solid Start

Q1Earnings Scorecard (as of Thursday, April 20th)

Including all of this morning’s releases, we now have Q1 results from 82 S&P 500 members that combined account for 21% of the index's total market capitalization. Total earnings for these 82 index members are up +15.4% on +4.9% higher revenues, with 72% beating EPS estimates and 59.8% beating revenue estimates.

This is better earnings and revenue growth performance than we have seen from this group of 82 S&P 500 members in other recent periods, even after adjusting for the strong growth from the Finance sector which has a heavy presence in the results at this stage.

For the Finance sector, we now have Q1 results from 47.7% of the sector’s market capitalization in the S&P 500 index. Total earnings for these Finance companies are up +23.4% from the same period last year on +7.7% higher revenues, with 69.2% beating EPS estimates and 57.7% beating revenue estimates. This is better earnings and revenue growth rate for the Finance sector than we have seen in other recent periods, though most of these stocks have been struggling lately as a result of the downtrend in interest rates.

Excluding the Finance sector, total earnings for the rest of the S&P 500 companies that have reported would be up +8.7% on +3.7% higher revenues from the year-earlier level.

Looking at Q1 as a whole, combining the actual results from the 82 index members with estimates from the still-to-come 418 companies, total earnings are expected to be up +8.8% from the same period last year on +6.2% higher revenues, the best earnings and revenue growth pace in more than two years.

Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including IBM, Abbott and Dow Chemical.

IBM shares did reasonably well this year, but the stock has lost ground following the disappointing quraterly report that appear to have raised fresh doubts about the company's ability to reposition itself for the changing technological landscape. Although IBM has been expanding product portfolio into newer technologies like Blockchain, Quantum computing and Containers through frequent acquisitions, these are still in a nascent stage and will take some time to contribute meaningfully towards top-line growth. However, sluggish IT spending particularly on on-premise and data center hardware and foreign exchange volatility remain concerns. (You can read the full research report on IBM here >> )

Shares of Abbott have gained +8.1% over the last three months, outperforming the Zacks Large-Cap Pharma sector which has gained +5.7% over the same period. Abbott exceeded expectations on both the earnings and sales fronts during the first quarter. The Zacks analyst likes how Abbott has been reshaping its portfolio through strategic acquisitions/divestitures for long-term growth. The St. Jude Medical buyout will complement its cardiovascular devices business. Also, the company’s plans to focus on selling its portfolio in core therapeutic areas. Meanwhile, weakness in the nutrition business in China and sluggish growth in the Venezuelan market is a concern. (You can read the full research report on Abbott here >> )

Dow Chemical shares have gained +7.7% over the past three months, outperforming the Zacks Chemicals Diversified industry (up +3.6% over the same period). The Zacks analyst likes the planned merger with DuPont, which is expected to create significant synergies. Dow should also gain from cost synergies associated with Dow Corning Silicones business and its strategic investments in the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Middle East. Estimates for first-quarter 2017 have also been stable of late. However, Dow’s agriculture business remains affected by depressed crop commodity prices. The company also faces pricing headwinds, feedstock cost pressure as well as weak demand in the energy market. Earnings estimate for the first-quarter 2017 has been stable of late. (You can read the full research report on Dow Chemical here >> )

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Delta Air Lines (NYSE:(DAL - Free Report) Free Report ) and Exelon (NYSE:(EXC - Free Report) Free Report ).

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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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