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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: UnitedHealth, Walmart, AT&T , NIKE and Anthem

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –June 20, 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 UnitedHealth (UNH - Free Report) , Walmart (WMT - Free Report) , AT&T (T - Free Report) , NIKE (NKE - Free Report) and Anthem (ANTM - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for UnitedHealth, Walmart and AT&T

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 UnitedHealth, Walmart and AT&T. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

UnitedHealth's shares have outperformed the Zacks Medical Insurance industry year to date (up +15.6% vs. +13.3%). The Zacks analyst thinks the company's robust Government business and continued strong performance at Optum are driving long-term growth. Its international business and strong capital position driving business investment are the other positives.

The company has been witnessing an increase in membership over the past many years. It again lifted its 2018 earnings guidance, buoying optimism among investors in the stock. The company has witnessed its 2018 estimate increase by 1.2% to $12.62 over the past 90 days.

However, membership loss in its fee-based commercial as well as Brazilian businesses will contract the overall membership growth for UnitedHealth Group. Additionally, higher medical care ratio raises concern.

Shares of Walmart have lost -16% in the last six months, underperforming the Zacks Supermarkets industry's -14.5% decline in the same time period. The Zacks analyst thinks Walmart is poised to gain from its strong e-commerce initiatives, particularly expansion of online grocery delivery. This, along with efforts to drive brick-and-mortar sales should help the company maintain its sturdy U.S. comps trend.

Walmart is also undertaking efforts to improve the performance of its International unit, by shifting focus from underperforming regions to profitable countries like India and China. To this end, the company’s recent investment in Flipkart is however expected to dent the bottom line in the near term.

Further, investments related to the e-commerce initiatives and a compelling pricing strategy have been hurting Walmart’s gross margin. Nonetheless, the Flipkart deal bodes well for the long term, which along with focus on buyouts, alliances and improved delivery services should help Walmart stand firm against Amazon.

AT&T’s shares have decreased -11.4% in the last three months, underperforming the Zacks Wireless National industry's fall of -4.3%. AT&T is gearing up to launch the first standards-based mobile 5G services to consumers in multiple U.S. markets by the end of 2018.

The Zacks analyst thinks the company is likely to benefit from its long-pending merger with Time Warner. Given the scale of both AT&T and Times Warner, the merger is likely to reshape the industry dynamics, creating a media behemoth. The deal will allow the power packed combination of AT&T’s data and Time Warner's content.

However, AT&T’s profitability has been hurt with spectrum crunch in a saturated wireless market. In addition, the company’s wireline division is struggling with persistent losses in access lines due to competitive pressure from voice-over-Internet protocol service providers and aggressive triple-play offerings by cable firms. These are weighing on AT&T’s revenues and margins.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include NIKE and Anthem.

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



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