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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Duke, Charter Communications, Abbott, UnitedHealth and Brown-Forman

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 29, 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 Duke Energy (DUK - Free Report) , Charter Communications (CHTR - Free Report) , Abbott (ABT - Free Report) , UnitedHealth (UNH - Free Report) and Brown-Forman (BF.B - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Stock Reports for Duke Energy, Charter Communications & Abbott Labs

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 Duke Energy, Charter Communications and Abbott. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

Duke Energy's shares have underperformed the Zacks Electric Power industry in the last year, declining -11% vs -5.7%. Duke Energy kick-started 2018 on a solid note, with its first quarter earnings as well as revenues having surpassed their respective expectations.

Year-over-year also results were impressive. The company currently boasts a robust five-year capital plan and plans to invest about $48.2 billion in growth projects over the 2018-2022 time frame. The Zacks analyst also likes the company’s efforts to expand its renewable base.

However, Duke Energy faces challenges from severe weather conditions and natural calamities like hurricanes, which may result in breakdown and damage to its infrastructure. Moreover, the company expects to incur environmental compliance costs of $3.4 billion for the 2018-2022 time frame.

Shares of Charter Communications have underperformed the Zacks Cable TV industry over the past three months (-25% vs. -19.1%). Charter’s first-quarter 2018 results benefited from subscriber growth in residential and commercial internet and voice segment. The partnership with Comcast to develop back-end software to support services for Xfinity and Spectrum mobile offerings is significantly positive for the company’s growth prospects. The collaboration will help in saving costs.

However, Charter continues to struggle due to a saturated and competitive multi-channel U.S. video market. The company also faces stiff competition from online TV streaming service providers. The Zacks analyst also thinks that the company's high debt level and consolidation-related woes are major headwinds.

Abbott’s shares have gained +11.3% over the last six months, outperforming the Zacks Medical Products industry, which has gained +7.4% over the same period. The Zacks analyst likes the strong and consistent performance by the company’s EPD and Medical Devices segments.

Also, solid contributions from Diagnostics and Nutrition business are encouraging. The company’s receipt of FDA approval for XIENCE Sierra coronary stent system will help it to revive the dull Vascular business. Within Structural Heart, strong uptake of MitraClip therapy post the national reimbursement approval in Japan also encourages us. Abbott’s Alere buyout is another positive. Synergies from this consolidation in the form of revenues from Rapid Diagnostics have been driving the company’s growth.

Meanwhile, the company’s emerging market performance has been extremely promising on several strategic developments. On the flip side, sluggish Vascular business in the United States continues to dent growth.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include UnitedHealth and Brown-Forman.

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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 for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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