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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer, Caterpillar and ConocoPhillips

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –October 9, 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: Apple (AAPL - Free Report) , Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) , Caterpillar (CAT - Free Report) andConocoPhillips (COP - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Apple, Microsoft and Pfizer

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, Microsoft and Pfizer. These research reports have been hand-picked from the roughly 70 reports published by our analyst team today.

Buy-ranked Apple’s shares have gained +32.6% year to date and have outperformed the broader market with the S&P 500 gaining +7.9% over the same period. The company is expected to benefit from an expanded portfolio with the launch of new iPhones. The Zacks analyst thinks higher average selling price (ASP) and a loyal customer base are key catalysts. Moreover, robust demand for wearables is expected to drive results.

As customers increase the usage of Apple Music and Apple Pay, Services revenues are expected to increase manifold. Further, the acquisition of Akonia Holographics, a manufacturer of lenses for AR glasses, strengthens the belief that Apple can foray into the wearable AR glasses space. Moreover, the company is testing self-driving vehicles and has 66 autonomous vehicles approved for testing in California.

Meanwhile, estimates have been going up ahead of the company’s fiscal Q4 earnings release. The company has positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.

Shares of Buy-ranked Microsoft have outperformed the Zacks Technology sector on a year-to-date basis (up +31.1% versus +7.5%). Microsoft has a dominant position in the desktop PC market, with its operating systems being used in the majority of PCs worldwide.

The Zacks analyst thinks the company is benefiting from growing user base of its different applications like Office 365 commercial, Dynamics, Outlook mobile and Teams. Moreover, Azure’s expanding customer base is a key catalyst. Microsoft’s gaming segment is performing well, primarily driven by a combination of Xbox Live, Game Pass subscriptions and Mixer, which are driving user engagement. Further, acquisitions like PlayFab and GitHub expand Microsoft’s total addressable market (TAM) and penetration.

Additionally, the company’s expanding partner base is a key catalyst. However, projections of a moderating growth rate in commercial cloud gross margin, and OEM Pro and Windows commercial businesses is a headwind.

Buy-ranked Pfizer’s shares have outperformed its peer group year-to-date (the stock is up +23.9% over this period vs. a +7% increase for the Zacks Large-Cap Pharmaceuticals industry). Pfizer is facing top-line headwinds in the form of genericization of key drugs, supply challenges in the legacy Hospira portfolio, pricing pressure and rising competition.

Nevertheless, the Zacks analyst thinks new products like Ibrance, contribution from acquisitions, cost-cutting efforts, a lower tax rate and share buybacks should help the company achieve its guidance. Pfizer also boasts a strong pipeline and expects approximately 25 to 30 drug approvals through 2022, including around 15 products that have blockbuster potential.

Pfizer’s growing immuno-oncology portfolio has strong potential. Bavencio is being considered a key long-term growth driver for Pfizer. In oncology, Pfizer has three potential medicines under FDA’s priority review. Though, estimates have gone down slightly ahead of its Q3 earnings release, Pfizer has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Caterpillar and ConocoPhillips.

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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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