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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: NIKE, Cisco Systems, Gilead Sciences, Las Vegas Sands and Aon

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 16, 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 NIKE (NYSE: (NKE - Free Report)  – Free Report), Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: (CSCO - Free Report)  – Free Report), Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: (GILD - Free Report)  – Free Report), Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: (LVS - Free Report)  – Free Report) and Aon (NYSE: (AON - Free Report)  – Free Report ).

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Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Stock Reports for Nike, Cisco and Gilead

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 NIKE (NYSE: (NKE - Free Report) – Free Report), Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: (CSCO - Free Report) – Free Report) and Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: (GILD - 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 >>>

NIKE has lagged the Zacks Shoes and Retail Apparel industry in the past three months (-12.4% vs. -10.7%), due to lackluster sales in its key North American market. Notably, sales in the region dipped 3% in first-quarter fiscal 2018, wherein the gross margin was hurt by currency woes and a higher mix of off-price sales. The company anticipates near-term results to be hurt by the tough retail environment, which led to a bleak second quarter view.

However, the company’s robust growth and innovation efforts have been reflected in every quarter’s results for over three fiscal years now. The company’s last reported quarter gained from strength in international business and the global NIKE Direct business.

Also, NIKE has been focused on its Consumer Direct Offense plan. Driven by its Triple Double strategy, this restructuring plan focuses on using digital methods for rapid innovation and product development, along with strengthening consumer relations by operating through core regions.

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

Cisco has outperformed the Zacks Computer Networking industry on a year-to-date basis, gaining +10.1% vs. a rise of +9.5%. The company’s expanding footprint in the rapidly growing security market presents significant growth opportunity. Further, the company’s focus on driving cost improvement, operational efficiencies and productivity will help in margin expansion. Additionally, partnerships with Telenor, Apple, IBM and Microsoft are positive in our view. Moreover, the recently updated ACI solution will boost expertise in the SDN market.

However, top-line will continue suffer from intensifying competition, slowing order growth from service providers and challenges in the emerging markets. The Zacks analyst continues to believe that the time-consuming transition to subscription-based business model will hurt top line growth at least in the near term. Estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company's Q1 earnings release. The company has mixed record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.

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

Shares of Gilead have outperformed the Zacks Biotech industry so far in 2017, increasing +13.5% vs. a gain of +13%.The company acquired Kite Pharma to foray into the CAR T therapy space which represents immense potential at this juncture and a potential approval of lead candidate axi-cell (expected in November) will be a significant boost for Gilead’s prospects which has dampened of late.

Gilead had a strong cash balance and the decline in the once lucrative hepatitis C (HCV) market due to competitive pressure made the company look for strategic alternatives. The Zacks analyst notes that Gilead is known for its presence in the HCV market because of its blockbuster HCV drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni.

However, the HCV franchise is under pressure because of competition and pricing issues. Meanwhile, the HIV franchise maintains momentum driven by the rapid adoption of TAF-based regimens in the U.S. and EU.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: (LVS - Free Report) – Free Report) and Aon (NYSE: (AON - Free Report) – Free Report ).

4 Stocks to Watch after the Massive Equifax Hack

Cybersecurity stocks spiked on recent news of a data breach affecting 143 million Americans. But which stocks are the best buy candidates right now? And what does the future hold for the cybersecurity industry?

Equifax is just the most recent victim. Computer hacking and identity theft are more common than ever. Zacks has just released Cybersecurity! An Investor’s Guide to inform readers about this $170 billion/year space. More importantly, it highlights 4 cybersecurity picks with strong profit potential.

Get the new Investing Guide now>>

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 information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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