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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: GW Pharmaceuticals, Altria, Constellation, Anheuser-Busch and The Stars

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –January 4, 2019 – 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: GW Pharmaceuticals plc (GWPH - Free Report) , Altria Group, Inc. (MO - Free Report) , Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ - Free Report) , Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (BUD - Free Report) and The Stars Group Inc. (TSG - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

4 “Sinfully” Good Stocks to Watch in 2019

Do ethics matter to you? If yes, then you may be repulsed by the idea of putting money into “sin stocks” that are involved in activities considered unethical. However, products or services in this space are relatively inelastic, and business is recession-proof. The very nature of their business ensures a steady stream of consumers irrespective of market conditions, which eventually lead to higher margins and solid profits.

And how can we forget that the current stock market turbulence and specter of slower economic growth this year have led to several economists uttering the dreaded “recession” word. The International Monetary Fund is also raising red flags, which makes investing in sin stocks all the more desirable.

But before we zero in on stocks from this tempting space, let’s take a look at what’s in store for these companies in 2019.

Pot Industry Gained Validity

The pot industry is likely to create a lot of noise this year. After all, Canada has become the first major economy to legalize recreational pot, with quite a number of U.S. states giving green signal to cannabis in some capacity last year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did approve its very first cannabis-derived drug, and thus marijuana finally became a legitimate business model last year. Even though such legalization didn’t help pot stocks gain much last year, this development will surely give them a boost over the long run.

The legal weed market is expected to reach a worth of as much as $75 billion by 2030, per investment bank Cowen & Co. This indicates that there are plenty of opportunities for investors to make money from both direct and subsidiary players.

Electronic Cigarette Market is Rapidly Evolving

Thanks to a combination of innovation, regulation and market forces, the electronic cigarette market is developing fast. Despite regulatory clampdown on most flavors and places where these products can be sold, the U.S. e-cigarette market has been expanding with Juul Labs currently owning a lion’s share.

Some skeptics, by the way, may say that tobacco stocks took a beating in the latter half of 2018, but income investors especially cannot ignore them. Lest we forget, tobacco stocks did offer high dividend growth for a pretty long time and on a consistent basis.

Booze Consumption on the Rise

2018, undoubtedly, was a terrible year for alcohol stocks. Both sales and profit margins were under tremendous pressure pushing share prices down. Booze consumption, however, is increasing at a slow but steady pace than a few years back, according to data researcher Nielsen. And this rise in consumption certainly bodes well for alcohol stocks.

Innovation and more shake-ups in recent times like Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV’s takeover of SABMiller will further help alcohol stock prices spiral upward as 2019 gets underway.

Things Are Looking Up for Gaming Company

Robust strategic initiatives helped multi-jurisdictional gaming companies progress by leaps and bounds. But, let’s admit that things are looking up for such companies mostly due to confident consumers.

The Conference Board, a business research group, indicated that the confidence index had fallen to 128.1 last month from 136.4 in November. But, such a reading still shows that consumer spirits are high by historic standards.

4 Sin Stocks to Keep an Eye on in 2019

As mentioned above, sinful stocks are poised to do much better this year. Such stocks not only celebrate good times but are also useful during recessionary periods. We have selected four such stocks from the pot, tobacco, alcohol and gaming industries. These stocks possess a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

GW Pharmaceuticals plcfocuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing cannabinoid prescription medicines using botanical extracts derived from the Cannabis plant. The cannabinoid drug maker is expected to see an uptick in sales this year, especially, after its lead drug; Epidiolex became the first cannabis-derived drug to gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration. GW Pharmaceuticals is projected to gain 5.5% next quarter.

Altria Group, Inc.manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States. Altria taking stakes in Juul Labs and the way it is marketing the IQOS (a sophisticated electronics that heat specially designed heated tobacco units) will certainly benefit the company this year. Altria is forecasted to gain 17.8% in the current year.

Constellation Brands, Inc.produces, imports, and markets beer, wine, and spirits in the United States. Thanks to the success of its Corona and Modelo import beers, its revenues increased more than 20% since the beginning of 2016. Constellation Brands is likely to gain 18.9% and 7.7% in the next quarter and the current year, respectively.

The Stars Group Inc.provides technology-based products and services to gaming and interactive entertainment industries. With a slew of U.S. states set to introduce legal sports betting this year, shares of Stars Group are well positioned to rise. Stars Group is expected to gain 7.3% in the current year.

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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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