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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, MasterCard, Shell, Regeneron and BP

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 08, 2017 – 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 ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM Free Report), MasterCard (NYSE:MA Free Report), Shell (NYSE:(RDS.A - Free Report) Free Report), Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN Free Report) and BP (NYSE:BP Free Report).   

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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Tuesday: XOM, MA, RDS.A

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 ExxonMobil (NYSE:(XOM - Free Report) Free Report), MasterCard (NYSE:(MA - Free Report) Free Report) and Shell (NYSE:(RDS.A - 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 >>>

ExxonMobil’s shares tracked the S&P 500 index through year-end 2016, but have lagged the broader index as well as the peer super majors group in the year-to-date period, likely reflecting the company's perceived defensiveness that disadvantages it relative to its 'oilier' peers. Exxon's resilient integrated business model has long been the industry gold standard, which makes it an attractive and relatively low-risk Energy sector option for many investors.

A fortress balance sheet, an attractive and totally safe dividend and a history of returning excess cash to shareholders are some of the other positives in the Exxon story. The company has been investing heavily in its chemical and refining businesses, which will likely help it counter downturns in upstream businesses owing to volatile commodity prices.

In fact, the upside in year-over-year earnings in the second quarter was supported by increased refining margins and refining volumes. However, the company’s second-quarter earnings missed expectations. The Zacks analyst discusses the pros and cons of investing in Exxon shares in the updated research report issued today.

(You canread the full research report on ExxonMobil here >>>).

Shares of Buy-ratedMasterCard have outperformed the Zacks Financial Services Transaction industry over the last year (up +34.1% vs. +22.9%) and is also ahead of rival Visa (up +26.1%). Second-quarter 2017 earnings surpassed expectations, driven by strong transaction, higher cross border volumes and gains from the Vocalink acquisition.

The Zacks analyst thinks MasterCard is well positioned for growth given its solid market position, ongoing expansion and digital initiatives, and significant opportunities from the secular shift toward electronic payments. The acquisition of VocaLink and NuData Security, complement the company’s efforts to participate in new payment flows and enhance its safety and security offerings.

However, Mastercard continues to face escalating costs, a volatile forex environment and legal issues. Also, higher incentives and rewards will weigh on the bottom line.

(You canread the full research report on MasterCard here >>>).

Shell’s shares are up +5.4% in the year-to-date period vs. the -3.3% loss for the broader industry and the -2.8% decline in BP’s stock. Additionally, the stock has received a boost from the strong Q2 earnings report (the stock has gained in excess of +5% since then). The integrated behemoth's upstream unit swung to a Q2 profit from a year-ago loss thanks to steady oil price recovery during the period and production contribution of BG assets.

The Hague-based supermajor was also able to reduce operating costs and progress on its large divestment program. Importantly, the Anglo-Dutch company generated a surge in cash flows, allowing it to cut debt and cover its cash dividend.

However, with oil falling below the psychologically-critical $50 threshold again, Shell's near-to-medium term revenue outlook remains cloudy. Hence, the Zacks analyst thinks investors should wait for a better entry point before buying shares in Europe's largest oil company.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Regeneron (NASDAQ:(REGN - Free Report) Free Report) and BP (NYSE:(BP - 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 >>.

Get the full Report on XOM - 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 information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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