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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Home Depot, Bristol-Myers, Costco, Ecolab and Ameriprise Financial

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – October 8, 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 Home Depot (HD - Free Report) , Bristol-Myers (BMY - Free Report) , Costco (COST - Free Report) , Ecolab (ECL - Free Report) and Ameriprise Financial (AMP - Free Report) .

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

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Analyst Reports for Home Depot, Bristol Myers and Costco

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 Home Depot, Bristol-Myers and Costco. 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 >>>

Buy-rankedHome Depot’s shares have gained +19.9% over the past year, marginally underperforming the Zacks Retail Building Products industry’s +20.9% increase. The Zacks analyst thinks that this performance is attributable to its five-year long trend of beating earnings estimates, which continued in second-quarter fiscal 2018.

Moreover, sales reverted to a positive surprise trend after a miss in the last-reported quarter. Results gained from a rebound in the seasonal business that impacted sales in the fiscal first quarter and the solid execution. Further, its relentless focus on affording innovative products, boosting interconnected customer experience and driving productivity seems to be paying off. A steady housing market recovery and strong customer demand also remain tailwinds.

Backed by the solid performance in the first half of fiscal 2018, the company raised the earnings and sales forecast for fiscal 2018. However, commodity cost inflation in various categories, including rising raw material and transportation costs as well as recently enacted tariffs are likely to pressure margins.

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

Shares of Buy-ranked Bristol-Myers have underperformed the Zacks Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry year to date, increasing +1.8% vs. a gain of +7.2%. However, Bristol-Myers' blockbuster immuno-oncology drug Opdivo continues to maintain momentum. Opdivo’s performance is being boosted by the uptake in new indications, first line renal cell and adjuvant melanoma.

Several label expansion applications for Opdivo are under review in the United States and Europe. The drug was recently approved for small cell lung cancer in the United States and melanoma in Europe.  Potential approval in other indications will further boost the prospects of this blockbuster drug.

Eliquis is expected to drive further growth in 2018 driven by increases in market share in the novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC) market. The label expansion of other drugs like Sprycel and Empliciti also bode well for the company. However, pricing concerns, stiff competition in the immuno-oncology space are expected to remain an overhang.

(You can read the full research report on Bristol-Myers here >>>).

Buy-rankedCostco’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Discount Retail industry over the past six months, gaining +25.9% versus the industry's +19.2% increase. Costco continues to be one of the dominant retail wholesalers based on the breadth and quality of merchandise offered.

The Zacks analyst thinks the stock has been gaining from sturdy comps performance and upbeat results. Notably, comps for fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 advanced 9.5% year over year, while revenues improved 5%. In fact, this marks the company’s sixth consecutive revenue beat.

Undoubtedly, the robust performance indicates that the company’s growth efforts have been fueling traffic across both the online and brick-and-mortar platforms. Moreover, the company is augmenting merchandise offerings and delivery services to further boost e-commerce sales.

However, lower core merchandise margins have been weighing on Costco’s gross margin. Further, rising SG&A expenses, stiff competition and unfavorable currency changes continue to pose threats.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Ecolab and Ameriprise Financial.

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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.

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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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