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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Procter & Gamble, Oracle, United Parcel Service, FedEx and AstraZeneca

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –December 24, 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: Procter & Gamble (PG - Free Report) , Oracle (ORCL - Free Report) , United Parcel Service (UPS - Free Report) , FedEx (FDX - Free Report) and AstraZeneca (AZN - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Research Reports for Procter & Gamble, Oracle and UPS

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 Procter & Gamble, Oracle and United Parcel Service. 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 >>>

Procter & Gamble’s shares outperformed the Zacks Soap and Cleaning Materials industry in the past three months, gaining +8% vs +1.6%. The Zacks analyst thinks that this can be attributed to the company’s robust earnings history, having outpaced estimates for 14 straight quarters when it reported first-quarter fiscal 2019.

Moreover, earnings grew year over year. Also, sales beat estimates, though it remained flat due to adverse currency fluctuations – which acted as a major deterrent in the first quarter and is likely to remain a concern in the second quarter. The company has been witnessing strained margins for last few quarters due to higher commodity and shipping costs, adverse currency, increased business investments and aggressive pricing from private-label products.

Soft baby care business is also a concern. Nonetheless, the company is focused on improving productivity and cost savings to boost margins. Its focus on product improvement, packaging and marketing initiatives is encouraging.

(You can read the full research report on Procter & Gamble here >>>).

Shares of Oracle have underperformed the Zacks Computer Software industry in the past year, losing -2.4% vs. +12.2%. Oracle is one of the largest enterprise-grade database, middleware and application software providers. The Zacks analyst thinks the company is benefiting from strong adoption of its cloud-based solutions, comprising Fusion ERP and Fusion HCM, among others.

Partnerships with the likes of Accenture are helping the company rapidly expand its cloud-base clientele. Also, anticipated strong demand for the next-generation autonomous database supported by machine learning will boost competitive position against Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Nonetheless, stiff competition in the cloud market from dominant players is anticipated to limit margin expansion. Further, lower hardware volumes are anticipated to hurt top-line growth consequently keeping margins under pressure. Additionally, integration risks from buyouts remain a concern.

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

United Parcel Service’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Transportation - Air Freight and Cargo industry over the past year, losing -20.8% vs. -27.1%. United Parcel Service has been benefitting from strong e-commerce growth. The company anticipates cross-border e-commerce volume to grow by 28% over the next three years.

The company's transformation plan, unveiled in September 2018, is aimed at boosting its bottom line. Approval of the deal by its freight workers is an added positive. The Zacks analyst is also impressed by UPS' efforts to reward its shareholders.

UPS' bullish full-year forecast on free cash flow supports the possibility of a dividend hike in the near future. However, the company's high capital expenditures are a cause for concern. UPS spent $4.5 billion as capital expenditure in the first nine months of 2018.

Trade-war related tensions and high debts pose further challenges to the company. In a year’s time, the UPS stock has declined more than 20%.

(You can read the full research report on United Parcel Service here >>>).

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include FedEx and AstraZeneca.

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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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