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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: McDonald???s, AbbVie, Altria, Wells Fargo and Disney

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –December 18, 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: McDonald’s (MCD - Free Report) , AbbVie (ABBV - Free Report) , Altria (MO - Free Report) , Wells Fargo (WFC - Free Report) and Disney (DIS - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Stock Reports for McDonald’s, AbbVie and Altria

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 McDonald’s, AbbVie and Altria. 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-ranked McDonald's shares have gained +10.2% in the past six months, outperforming the Zacks Restaurants industry which has gained +4.3% over the same period. The Zacks analyst likes McDonald’s impressive earnings surprise history, various sales and digital initiatives as well as positive comparable sales.

Also, the consensus earnings estimate for current quarter has increased over the past month. Increased focus on delivery and accelerated deployment of Experience of the Future restaurants in the United States should boost its performance.

These apart, the company’s efforts to drive growth in International Lead & High Growth Markets bode well. In fact, global comps at McDonald’s have been positive over the trailing 13 quarters.

Yet high labor costs and currency headwinds remain major concerns. Revenues have been under pressure for quite some time due to strategic refranchising initiatives. Even its heightened focus on refranchising should cut the capital requirements and facilitate EPS growth.

(You can read the full research report on McDonald's here >>>).

Shares of AbbVie have lost 11.5% year to date, underperforming the Zacks Large-Cap Pharmaceuticals industry's rally of +5%. The Zacks analyst likes the fact that AbbVie’s key drug, Humira, has been performing well based on strong demand trends despite new competition. Moreover, Imbruvica has multibillion dollar potential and AbbVie is exploring the possibility of label expansion into solid tumors and autoimmune diseases. Mavyret’s launch has also been stronger than expected. 

AbbVie has also been successful in expanding approvals for its cancer drugs, Imbruvica and Venclexta. The company has an impressive late-stage pipeline comprising several products with multibillion-dollar potential expected to be launched in the near term.

AbbVie expects to launch more than 20 new products or line extensions of marketed drugs before Humira biosimilar competition begins in the United States in 2023. Direct biosimilar competition to Humira in Europe from October can erode revenues.

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

Altria’s shares have underperformed the Zacks Tobacco industry over the past three months (-15.1% vs. -13.2%). Altria has been delivering year-over-year bottom-line growth for quite some time, which continued in third-quarter 2018. The Zacks analyst thinks earnings during the quarter was mainly backed by lower outstanding shares and reduced income tax.

Consistent solid performance propelled management to raise 2018 view. Additionally, Altria has been gaining from the rising popularity of Smokeless products. Pricing also continues to drive the company’s revenues in the smokeable and smokeless segments.

On the flip side, stern FDA regulations combined with increased health consciousness has been taking a toll on the cigarette category. Notably, cigarette shipment volumes fell 3.5% year over year during the third quarter, thanks to lower retail share and adverse trade inventory movements. The company’s wine category has also been sluggish, due to stiff competition.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include Wells Fargo and Disney.

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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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