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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, AT&T, Wells Fargo, Honda Motor and ABB

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – January 11, 2018 – 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 Corp. (XOM - Free Report) , AT&T Inc. (T - Free Report) , Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC - Free Report) , Honda Motor (HMC - Free Report) and ABB (ABB - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for ExxonMobil, AT&T and Wells Fargo

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 Corp., AT&T Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

ExxonMobil’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Integrated Oil industry (+5% vs. +9.1%) as well as peer Chevron (+7.1%) in the last three months. The company has a leading position in the energy industry owing to the size and diversity of its asset base, both in terms of business mix and geographical footprint.

With a stable cash position, the company’s balance sheet is one of the best in the industry, reflecting declining debt load over the first nine months of 2017. The Zacks analyst appreciates ExxonMobil’s plans to combine its refining & marketing businesses as this will allow the company to take better decisions and boost performance.

ExxonMobil will generate more cashflow from downstream activities, also helping it counter the volatility in its upstream business. ExxonMobil’s decision to invest in the pre-salt Carcara oil field, comprising as much as 2 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable oil reserves, will boost the company’s production. Moreover, the sixth oil discovery off the coast of Guyana further enhances the prospects of the integrated energy player.

Shares of AT&T have decreased -1.9% over the past three months, underperforming the Zacks Wireless National industry's fall of -1.3%. AT&T continues to struggle in the competitive U.S. wireless market. Loss in access lines, operating expenses, marketing costs associated with attractive discounts and union issues are other risks. AT&T-Time Warner extended their proposed deal closure deadline to Jun 21, 2018 to clear-off regulatory issues.

However, the Zacks analyst is optimistic about AT&T’s wireless growth opportunities from the launch of standards-based mobile 5G services in 2018 and the FirstNet project. AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW reported more than 1 million subscribers, despite cord-cutting. Vyatta buyout boosts AT&T’s SD-WAN suite.

AT&T-Verizon have teamed up with Tillman to build cell towers in the United States. AT&T’s NetBond is planning to offer multiple cloud connections. AT&T is exploring a strategic option to sell a major part of its Latin American pay-TV operations.

Wells Fargo’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Major Banks industry in the last three months, increasing +11.9% vs. a gain of +9.6%. Further, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history. The company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. Wells Fargo plans $4 billion of cost cuts by 2019.

Rising rates are easing margin pressure to an extent. Notably, following the recent Federal Reserve interest rate hike by 25 bps, Wells Fargo raised its prime lending rate from 4.25% to 4.50%. While the current crisis related to the revelation of illegally opening millions of illegal accounts last year at the company will take some time to alleviate, the Zacks analyst believes that consistent growth in loans and deposits and expansions will likely support its growth profile.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Honda Motor and ABB.

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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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