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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Procter & Gamble, Citigroup, Petrobras and Aflac

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –August 3, 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: Apple (AAPL - Free Report) , Procter & Gamble (PG - Free Report) , Citigroup (C - Free Report) , Petrobras (PBR - Free Report) and Aflac (AFL - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Apple, Procter & Gamble and Citigroup

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 Apple, Procter & Gamble and Citigroup. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

Buy-ranked Apple’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Computer - Mini computers industry in the last six months, gaining +28.7% vs. +28.3%. The company reported impressive third-quarter fiscal 2018 results driven by robust iPhone sales as well as continued momentum in the Services segment. Higher ASP drove iPhone results in the quarter.

The Services segment has become the new cash cow Apple and is expected to grow strongly driven by increasing adoption of Apple Music & Apple Pay. Going ahead, we believe Apple’s foray into fast-growing technologies like autonomous vehicle, artificial intelligence (AI) & AR/VR will drive growth. Shares have outperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis.

Nevertheless, significant competition in most of its operating markets and strong demand for feature-rich smartphones at a much cheaper price are major headwinds for the company.

Shares of Procter & Gamble have gained +13.0% in the last three months, outperforming the Zacks Soap and Cleaning Materials industry, which gained +9.1% over the same period. The company posted its 13th consecutive earnings beat in fourth-quarter fiscal 2018.

The company’s focus on product improvement, packaging and marketing initiatives, and productivity cost-savings plan bodes well. Further, it is benefiting from higher demand for skincare products, along with fabric and home care products.

However, the company is witnessing strained margins owing to increased commodity and shipping costs, adverse currency, higher business investments and aggressive pricing from private-label products amid intense competition. Moreover, sales remain muted due to weak demand and lower prices. While the company expects recently announced price increases to help rebound sales and margins, analysts’ fear of impacts on demand and consumption.

Citigroup’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Banks - Major Regional industry over the last six months (-1.9% vs. 1%). Further, the company possesses an impressive earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. The company’s second-quarter 2018 earnings reflected high revenues, along with loan growth. Moreover, controlled expenses were experienced.

The Zacks analyst believes that the company’s restructuring and streamlining efforts, strategic investments in core business, lower tax rate and expense management will likely support profitability. Recently, the capital plan approval reflects strong capital position. Yet several issues, including litigation burden, keep us apprehensive. Also, despite rising rates, margin remains under pressure, due to persistent decline in the company’s legacy holdings portfolio.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Petrobras and Aflac.

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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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