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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, Caterpillar, Union Pacific, Alexion and Sanofi

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – Feb 15, 2018 – 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 ExxonMobil (XOM - Free Report) , Caterpillar (CAT - Free Report) , Union Pacific (UNP - Free Report) , Alexion (ALXN - Free Report) and Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) .

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for ExxonMobil, Caterpillar and Union Pacific

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, Caterpillar and Union Pacific. 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 have underperformed the Zacks Integrated Oil industry (-6.1% vs. -0.2%) as well as peer Chevron (-2.7%) in the last three months. ExxonMobil 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. The Zacks analyst likes the fact that the integrated energy firm has combined its refining & marketing businesses. 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.

However, ExxonMobil posted lower-than-expected results in fourth-quarter 2017. The company’s rising exploration expenses is cause for concern. During fourth-quarter 2017, ExxonMobil’s exploration cost surged more than 106%.

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

Shares of Buy-rated Caterpillar have gained +55.5% over the past one year, outperforming the Zacks Construction and Mining industry which has increased +53.2% over the same period. Caterpillar reported a rise of 34% in global retail sales for the three months ended January 2018, at par with the performance witnessed in December 2017 and at levels last seen in August 2011.

Backed by strong order rates, lean dealer inventories and strong backlog, Caterpillar projects EPS in $8.25-$9.25 range for 2018, a 27% year-over-year rise at the mid-point. The Construction segment will benefit from continued improvement in North American residential, non-residential and infrastructure markets.

Rising commodity prices will drive Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation’s revenues. Ongoing cost cutting efforts and additional investments in expanded offerings and services will drive growth.

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

Buy-rated Union Pacific’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Rail industry as well as fellow railroad operator Norfolk Southern Corporation over the last six months. While Union Pacific has gained 22.4%, the industry it belongs to and Norfolk Southern have rallied 10.3% and 16.9%, respectively, in the same time period.

Ushering in further good news, Union Pacific's earnings per share as well as revenues increased in the fourth quarter of 2017. Higher freight revenues on the back of volume growth contributed to the uptick.

Also, in February 2018, the company announced its decision to increase quarterly dividends which is encouraging. In fact, this is the company’s second dividend hike in three months. The new tax law is also a positive for the company. Its efforts to promote safety and enhance productivity are noteworthy as well. However, declining automotive volumes and high debt levels are concerning.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Alexion and Sanofi.

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1 Stock of the Day pick for free.

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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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 https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.



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