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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, DowDuPont, Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson and Verizon Communications

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – December 10, 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 Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , DowDuPont Inc. (DWDP - Free Report) , Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Dow 30 Stock Roundup: AAPL, XOM & More

The Dow traversed a rough holiday-shortened week, marked by the return of trade war fears. Trade tensions dissipated on Monday following the temporary ceasefire between the United States and China. However, trade fears made a comeback on the next day following U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Tariff Man” tweets. A yield curve inversion also weighed on investors, sparking fears of an economic slowdown.   

Last Week’s Performance

The index gained 1.1% on Monday following a pause in trade-related hostilities between the United States and China. Following Trump and Jinping’s dinner meet, the countries agreed on a 90-day truce to address bilateral trade-related issues.

The index plunged 3.1% on Tuesday, reversing its two-day winning streak. Yields on 2-Year US Treasury Note and 3-Year US Treasury Note surpassed the yield on 5-Year US Treasury Note. For many industry experts, this is a clear signal of an impending economic slowdown.

Moreover, investors become skeptical regarding a permanent solution to the trade conflicts. Such fears heightened after Trump reminded China that tariffs are still a key weapon for him.

Meanwhile, Wall Street was closed on Wednesday to mourn former President George H.W. Bush. The index fell 0.3% on Thursday, shedding 785 points at its session low. News that Huawei’s chief financial officer had been arrested for violating Iran sanctions triggered renewed concerns about U.S.-China trade ties.

However, markets were able to recoup initial losses somewhat with an afternoon rebound helping the Dow enter the positive zone for the year. The recovery was triggered by a report from the Wall Street Journal per which the Fed may take a break from raising rates after announcing a hike later this month.

Components Moving the Index

Apple expected to wait until 2020 to unveil an iPhone with 5G connectivity, per Bloomberg.

The Cupertino-based company, which initially planned to launch a 5G-supported iPhone by 2019, is likely to delay the launch due to unavailability of Intel’s 5G-enabled chips. Notably, after a legal dispute over royalty payments with Qualcomm, Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) Apple chose Intel’s 5G chips for its iPhones.

The delay may not bode well for Apple as other major phone providers like Samsung, Oppo and Huawei Technologies are gearing up to launch their 5G versions in 2019. Moreover, in terms of shipment (second-quarter 2018), Apple has lost its position to Huawei, which has become the second-largest smartphone seller after Samsung, per Gartner. (Read: Apple Likely to Delay the Launch of 5G iPhone to 2020)

DowDuPont Inc.’s subsidiary, The Dow Chemical Company, has announced that it is making a series of investments in methyl cellulose capacity expansion. The move will help customers of construction dry mix to secure a reliable supply of key additives. These capacity expansions also demonstrate the company’s commitment to the dry mix industry. DowDuPont has a Zacks Rank #3.

Dow Chemical will increase methyl cellulose production capacity at its manufacturing facilities in Bomlitz and Bitterfeld, Germany, which will help the company address customer demand for high-quality cellulose ether products. Notably, expansion projects represent a capacity enhancement of 19,000 metric tons for Dow Chemical’s Methocel and Walocel cellulose ethers. (Read: DowDuPont's Unit to Boost Methyl Cellulose Capacity)

Exxon Mobil Corporationcontinues to gain from holding some of the most prolific upstream global assets, particularly the Stabroek Block. The asset’s exploration potential was ascertained with the 10th discovery at the Pluma-1 well, offshore Guyana.

With the recent finding, the combined gross recoverable resources have been increased to more than 5 billion oil-equivalent barrels from the prior projection of more than 4 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

Pluma-1 well is the sixth find on the Stabroek Block in the past year. Located about 17 miles south of the Turbot-1 well, it encountered about 121 feet (37 meters) of superior, hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone reservoir.

The drilling of the well commenced on Nov 1, 2018, wherein the Noble Tom Madden drillship was used to reach a total depth of 16,447 feet (5,013 meters) in 3,340 feet (1,018 meters) of water. Subsequently, the Noble Tom Madden will drill the Tilapia-1 prospect located 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) west of the Longtail-1 well. The stock has a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Johnson & Johnsonpresented positive data from late-stage label expansion studies evaluating its blood cancer drugs, Imbruvica and Darzalex, in previously untreated patients at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) held in San Diego, CA.

New findings from a phase III study showed that its key cancer drug, Imbruvica, as a combination therapy, significantly improved survival compared to standard chemo immunotherapy regimen in previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL) patients. Zacks Rank #3 J&J markets Imbruvica in partnership with AbbVie (ABBV). (Read: J&J's Blood Cancer Drugs Succeed in Label Expansion Studies)

Verizon Communications Inc.announced plans to launch commercial 5G smartphones in the market in first-half 2019 in collaboration with electronics firm Samsung. This offers a clear-cut edge to Zacks Rank #3 Verizon as one of its closest competitors — Apple — reportedly aims to bring in 5G phones in 2020.

Verizon had launched the world’s first commercial 5G broadband Internet service in select markets on Oct 1, 2018. Dubbed Verizon 5G Home, the service was initially made available in select regions in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

Verizon 5G Home service is built on the world’s first and only 5G Ultra Wideband Network, offering typical network speeds around 300 Mbps and peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps with no data caps. (Read: Verizon Seeks First Mover Advantage With Samsung 5G Phones)

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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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