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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Philip Morris, Morgan, Union Pacific and Bank of New York Mellon

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – July 25, 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 Microsoft (NASDAQ: (MSFT - Free Report) Free Report), Philip Morris (NYSE: (PM - Free Report) Free Report), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: (MS - Free Report) Free Report), Union Pacific (NYSE: (UNP - Free Report) Free Report) and Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: (BK - Free Report) Free Report).

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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Microsoft, Philip Morris & Morgan Stanley

The Zacks Research Daily presents the best research output of our analyst team. Today's Research Daily features new research reports on 16 major stocks, including Microsoft (NASDAQ: (MSFT - Free Report) Free Report ), Philip Morris (NYSE: (PM - Free Report) Free Report ) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: (MS - Free Report) Free Report ). These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

You can see all of today’s research reports here >>>

Microsoft ’s shares lagged the Zacks Technology sector through the fall, but have led the way over the last six months (up +15.9% versus +12.1%) on greater appreciation for the company's reorganization and repositioning. Microsoft reported strong fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 results. Both earnings and revenues increased on a year-over-year basis.

The impressive results demonstrated that the company is benefiting from continuing enterprise strength, strong Office 365 and Windows 10 adoption and robust penetration of Azure. Also, the Zacks analyst thinks LinkedIn has improved the company's presence in the social media market, which improved top-line growth.

Management expects expenses to increase in fiscal 2018 due to continuing investments. This will weigh on profitability in the near term. Nevertheless, the company's expanding product portfolio is a key catalyst in the long haul. However, intensifying competition in the cloud space and unfavorable foreign exchange are headwinds.

(You can read the full research report on Microsoft here >>>) .

Philip Morris posted weaker-than-expected second-quarter 2017 results, with both earnings and revenues lagging expectations. While earnings dipped due to lower cigarette volumes, net revenue gained from higher iQOS device sales, as well as favorable pricing and volume/mix. But the Zacks analyst likes the fact that the company is churning its portfolio and taking steps to develop smoke-free products as customers are shifting away from tobacco products.

In fact, Philip Morris remains focused on the growing e-cigarettes and less harmful alternative products such as heatsticks and iQOS products. Shares of the company also outperformed the Zacks categorized Tobacco industry in the past six months gaining +23.9% vs. +13.1%. However, strict government regulations from around the world, declining demand for cigarettes and currency headwinds remain major concerns.

(You can read the full research report on Philip Morris here >>> ) .

Morgan Stanley ’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Finance sector over the last one year, gaining +60.2% versus the sector’s +22% increase. The company’s second-quarter 2017 earnings surpassed expectations, primarily driven by improved equity trading and a rise in underwriting income. The Zacks analyst likes the company’s efforts to offload its non-core assets to lower balance sheet risk and cost saving efforts, which will likely lead to improvement in profitability.

These initiatives, along with enhanced capital deployment should boost investors’ confidence in the stock. However, continued fall in corporate loan balances remains a concern for the company. This is most likely the primary reason for decrease in net interest income despite rise in interest rates.

(You can read the full research report on Morgan Stanley here >>> ) .

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Union Pacific (NYSE: (UNP - Free Report) Free Report ) and Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: (BK - 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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