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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amgen, Altria, Booking, General Motors and Occidental

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –May 14, 2019 – 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: Amgen (AMGN - Free Report) , Altria (MO - Free Report) , Booking Holdings (BKNG - Free Report) , General Motors (GM - Free Report) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Top Stock Reports for Amgen, Altria and Booking Holdings

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 Amgen, Altria and Booking Holdings. 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 >>>

Amgen’s shares have lost -2.4% over the past year, outperforming the Zacks Biomedical and Genetics industry's decline of -16.5%. Amgen beat expectations for earnings while sales were in line with estimates in the first quarter.

The Zacks analyst thinks that while Amgen’s newer drugs — Prolia, Xgeva, Blincyto, Kyprolis — will drive sales, biosimilar and brand competition for its legacy products will create pressure on sales in 2019. Meanwhile, the uptake of key drug Repatha has been slow due to payer restrictions. However, recently launched products including Aimovig, biosimilars and international expansion provide incremental growth opportunities.

Amgen is also progressing with its pipeline and the approval of Evenity was a boost. In the past five years, Amgen has launched nine products, including two in new therapeutic areas. The company boasts a strong biosimilars pipeline, which could be an important long-term growth driver for the company. Amgen’s restructuring plan is making it leaner and more cost efficient.

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

Shares of Altria have gained +6.1% over the past three months, outperforming the Zacks Tobacco industry, which has increased +4.1% over the same period. The Zacks analyst thinks the company is steadily gaining from the popularity of Smokeless products. During first-quarter 2019, revenues in the category improved nearly 2.9%.

To further bolster this unit, the company has made investments in JUUL and Cronos. Pricing also continues to drive the company’s revenues. It has also undertaken cost-reduction initiatives. Altria plans to deliver annualized cost savings of nearly $575 million by the end of 2019. Management expects such savings to mitigate the interest burden, stemming from debt issued to fund investments.

Further, we note that Altria grapples with persistently declining cigarette shipment volumes. Stern FDA regulations, along with increased health consciousness, are taking a toll on cigarette sales. Going forward, management expects cigarette industry volume to decline in the range of 4-5%.

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

Booking Holdings’ shares have underperformed the Zacks Internet Commerce industry over the past year, losing -11.7% vs. -3.6%. Booking Holdings reported weak first quarter results wherein both earnings and revenues missed the estimates.

However, the company’s total bookings continued to accelerate during the reported quarter, thanks to its rapidly growing Merchant bookings. Robust portfolio of properties remained a major positive which drove growth in room nights booked number of the company. Also, its strong direct channel, rising mobile share and growing alternative accommodation business contributed well.

The Zacks analyst thinks its strong focus toward enhancing offerings of places to stay to customers will aid growth in the near term as well as the long haul. Moreover, its growing branding initiatives remain tailwinds. However, currency headwinds and increasing advertising spend remain overhangs. Sluggishness in the rental car days and airline tickets unit poses a risk.

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

Other noteworthy reports we are featuring today include General Motors and Occidental Petroleum.

Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2019

In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-holds for the year?

Who wouldn't? Our annual Top 10s have beaten the market with amazing regularity. In 2018, while the market dropped -5.2%, the portfolio scored well into double-digits overall with individual stocks rising as high as +61.5%. And from 2012-2017, while the market boomed +126.3, Zacks' Top 10s reached an even more sensational +181.9%.

See Latest Stocks Today >>

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Zacks Investment Research

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for lossThis 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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